Official bodies get behind letting agent regulation

Leading figures in the housing industry have welcomed initial amendments to the Enterprise Bill that could see all letting agents statutorily regulated, reports.

The Bill, which has already been approved by the House of Lords, is aimed at improving standards throughout the industry by rooting out any unscrupulous letting agents and allowing the best to thrive. It is also hoped the potential regulations could give tenants more power if they succumb to poor landlords or letting agents.

Having been given the green light by the House of Lords, the Bill now just needs to be passed once more through the Commons before it is enshrined in law.

Conversely, reputable letting agents would then be able to gain accreditation and use this to their advantage when advertising a property and finding a tenant.

The Property Ombudsman was among the official bodies which welcomed the amendment, having said that as only 40 per cent of letting agents are currently registered, a compulsory sign-up would close off the options for rogues.

RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) also welcomed the move. Its Residential Director, Peter Bolton King, told "RICS has long called for the regulation of the lettings industry, given that ultimately, this is about the provision of shelter, a basic human requirement.

"This decision is one step nearer to this vital change becoming law."