Following his annual report earlier in the year, Christopher Hamer, the Property Ombudsman, recommended that lettings agents should be regulated to protect both tenants and landlords.  Estate agents are required by law to be registered with an official redress scheme, and as a result, 90% of all UK estate agents are signed up with the Property Ombudsman's scheme.  But the situation, he said, was rather different with letting agents, who are not under any such obligation.  Mr Hamer, said "whilst many agents in the lettings business (a total of 2,241 companies) are in Property Ombudsman membership... there are still many firms operating under their own interpretation of what are appropriate standards.”

Andrew Sainsbury, Director at GO Lettings in Leeds, believes the Government has missed an opportunity to improve  national standards in lettings, commenting, “as it stands, any person or organisation can set up a letting agency with little of no relevant experience or qualifications. Suitable regulation and licensing of letting agents would be simple to implement and would stop a large proportion of unqualified and unprofessional agents operating in the market place within in a short period of time, giving consumers the peace of mind they deserve when renting property.  ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents) currently sets the standard for professional letting agencies. Membership is achieved only by letting agents who demonstrate that they have a thorough knowledge of their profession and that they conduct their business according to current best management practice. Until the government acts, I would urge all landlands and tenants alike to use an agent who belongs to a professional body.”

 

 

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