Pressure mounting on Mark Prisk to regulate the Private Rented Sector
December 5, 2012
Pressure is mounting on new housing minister Mark Prisk to get to grips with the Private Rented Sector (PRS).
The Housing Minister, who is currently standing firmly behind the party line that there will be no more regulation of either agents or landlords, is to be pressed for action following a meeting at the House of Lords. The event, organised by Lord Richard Best (Chairman of the independent council which oversees The Property Ombudsman), was attended by organisations with varied interests in the lettings industry.
The Property Ombudsman, one of several orgnaisations that wish for greater regulation, are putting pressure on Mr. Prisk. The meeting comes just as Which? was preparing to issue a report , and in the same week that the RICS said the private rented sector was like the Wild West.
The House of Lords event launched a new report commissioned by TPO, ‘Regulating Residential Letting Agents: The Issues and Options’ was written by Professor Michael Ball, of Reading University.
The forum was attended by 34 industry luminaries from key organisations including ARLA, NALS, RICS and OFT.
In his introduction to the report, Lord Best pointed out that letting agents in Scotland and Wales already operate under more stringent conditions than their counterparts in the rest of the UK, who are thought to earn around £1bn per annum from a market that brings in £14bn.
Lord Best said: “In Scotland and Wales, there are more stringent regulations, and all agents in the Republic of Ireland now come under a statutory regulator. Does the scale of the sector in England, and the damage caused by some ‘cowboy’ operators, mean more extensive regulation is needed here?”
All those attending the forum had agreed to work together on further research. Bill McClintock, chairman of TPO’s operating company, said, “Those attending the event agreed that as regulation through legislation was not a Government priority, it was their responsibility to work together and bring about a regime that reduces risk for the consumer.”