Crackdown on rogue letting and managing agents
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced plans to establish an independent regulator and introduce a mandatory code of practice for managing and letting agents.
The code will be developed by a working group made up of letting, managing and estate agents, tenants and regulation experts. The group is expected to draw up the final proposals for the code by early 2019. Provisions to be introduced under the code include:
- The creation of a new independent regulator responsible for overseeing the working practices of agents. Agents who fail to comply with the code will not be permitted to trade. Criminal sanctions could also be brought in for those who severely breach the code.
- Letting and managing agents will be required to obtain a nationally recognised qualification to practice, with at least one person in every organisation required to have that qualification.
- A new system will be introduced to help leaseholders challenge unfair fees including service charges.
- Support will be given to help leaseholders to switch their managing agents where they perform poorly or break the terms of their contract.
- Letting and managing agents will be required to undertake continuing professional development and training.
Rebecca Gardner, Corporate & Commercial Partner at Howat Avraam Solicitors comments: Whether as a residential tenant or as a commercial business, most people will, at some point in their lives, come into contact with letting agents or managing agents. As the Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler said recently, “most property agents take a thorough and professional approach when carrying out their business, but sadly some do not.” At Howat Avraam, we tend to see more of the bad than good, where clients require our help to resolve issues with their managing agents. In our view, any measures to professionalise and regulate the sector to protect tenants and leaseholders will be very welcome.
Howat Avraam Solicitors provide Corporate, Commercial, Employment, Real Estate and Contract Dispute advice to companies, business owners and individuals. As business owners ourselves, we have a pragmatic in-house approach to resolving issues before they arise by working alongside our clients, as part of their team. We are commercial, practical and entrepreneurial in our approach to legal services.
To discuss any Corporate or Commercial matter with us on a no obligation basis, please contact Rebecca Gardner on 020 3735 6700 or email Rebecca at Rebecca.Gardner@hasolicitors.co.uk . Alternatively, visit our website at www.howatavraamsolicitors.co.uk for more information.