In a policy statement out today [February 3], The Private Rented Sector: Professionalism and Quality: consultation responses and next steps, John Healey, minister for housing and planning, confirms plans to introduce full regulation of letting and managing agents. He says: “We will carry out further detailed work with stakeholders on the exact form of regulation, and whether it is led by an independent regulator, or by industry bodies.”
Healy also reiterates his pledge to establish a national register of landlords, which aims to protect tenants and support local authority enforcement activity. He says: “We will carry out further detailed work with stakeholders to assess whether the register could also be used to apply registration conditions on persistently poor landlords.”
Other commitments include the requirement for all tenancies to take the form of a written agreement and an increase in the limit for Assured Shorthold Tenancies from £25,000 a year to £100,000. Healy claims that this will reduce the number of tenants - up to 150,000 at present) - who do not currently have the protection of an AST, and associated protections – such as the requirement to protect a tenant’s deposit.
The full policy statement, which is yet to be released by Communities and Local Government, sets out a summary of responses to its consultation document, “The Private Rented Sector: Professionalism and Quality – the Government response to the Rugg Review”, published on May 13 2008. Healy adds: “The government wants to see a private rented sector which offers high-quality accommodation, and in which tenants can make choices based on clear information about their options, their rights, and their responsibilities.
“We also want to ensure tenants know where to turn if things go wrong. At the same time, government wants to increase professionalism in the private rented sector – supporting good landlords and agents, whilst driving out the worst practices of the sector that fail tenants and damage its reputation.” The statement is being published alongside a Treasury consultation investing in the UK Private Rented Sector, which considers whether there are any substantive barriers to investment in the sector by individuals and institutions."
Taken from the http://www.negotiator-magazine.co.uk website.