On 1 April the Government published its welcome response to the regulation of letting and managing agents. This follows the Secretary of State’s announcement in October 2017 of his intention to regulate letting and managing agents followed by a six-week call for evidence. The call for evidence closed at the end of November 2017 and MHCLG received almost 2,000 responses. LEASE’s response can be seen here.
In 2002, and in response to the then Government’s consultation ‘Improving the standard of residential leasehold management’, LEASE said:
“From research, elsewhere (France and Australia) it is clear that a licensing system is fully achievable, acceptable by the industry and effective in regulation of standards. It is clear that this is the ideal, which should be pursued.”
The Government’s response has now been published online and it intends to:
- Extend the previous commitment of regulating letting agents to include all managing agents to protect leaseholders and freeholders alike;
- Create an independent regulator, covering letting and managing agents;
- Create a single, mandatory and legally enforceable Code of Practice for letting and managing agents;
- Require letting and managing agents to have a nationally recognised qualification to practice. Agents will also be required to undertake continuing professional development;
- Propose that criminal sanctions will be imposed on agents who practice despite not meeting minimum standards;
- Empower leaseholders to switch managing agents where they perform poorly or break the terms of their contract; and
- Simplify the Right to Manage process for leaseholders.
MHCLG will form a Working Group involving stakeholders across the leasehold and private rented sectors to deliver these commitments. The group will be established as soon as possible and MHCLG promises more details in due course.