The Communities Secretary. The Rt Hon Sajid Javid has been quick to follow up on his promise to create a fairer property management system.
Key changes proposed in his Department’s response to the public consultation he triggered last Autumn include:
- Creating an independent regulator, covering letting and managing agents;
- Creating a single, mandatory and legally enforceable Code of Practice for letting and managing agents;
- Requiring letting and managing agents to have a nationally recognised qualification to practice.
- Proposing that criminal sanctions will be imposed on agents who practice despite not meeting minimum standards;
- Empowering leaseholders to switch poorly-performing managing agents; and
- Simplifying the Right to Manage process for leaseholders.
It was last October that Mr Javid announced his intention to put regulation in place, and there was an immediate six-week public consultation period, which ended in November. Now, in April 2018 we can see his team’s response.
It was particularly welcomed by the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE), which has been advocating regulation since 2002. LEASE said then: “It is clear that this is the ideal, which should be pursued.”
Now, in 2018, LEASE chairman Roger Southam has said: “There is clear intent to deliver regulation and going wider to look at criminal sanctions for practicing without suitable qualification. The devil will be in the detail, but this is something that should be welcomed by all sides. “
While the sector is partly self-regulated – through professional bodies such as the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA), ARLA Propertymark and the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), which have a code of conduct – the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government believes that other property agents that operate outside of any system might provide a poor deal for consumers.
UPDATE April 2019: See the outcome of the consultation HERE.
UPDATE September 2020: See our report on proposals for wider proposals for leasehold reform HERE.
The opinions and views expressed in the above articles are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The authors disclaim any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.