According to ARLA, with 36% of households in England now renting, regulation of the private rental sector – or the lack thereof – is an issue that affects more of the population than ever before.
The Scottish Government will announce a review of its strategy for the PRS on 30 May, while the Welsh Government is due to introduce a Housing Bill before the end of this Assembly term, legislating for a compulsory licensing scheme for all letting agents in Wales as well as a code of practice.
These announcements contrast with the current Westminster Government’s opposition to regulation of the sector. If this opposition continues, tenants in England are still at risk from rogue letting agents and landlords according to ARLA.
The warning comes following the publication today of the Labour Party’s Policy Review of the PRS which reiterates the industry’s wider calls for improved rental standards for all.
Ian Potter, managing director, ARLA, said: “The PRS remains an unregulated industry, and in the event of something going wrong consumers still only have limited options.
“ARLA has been calling for regulation of the sector for a number of years now, and as more and more people rent rather than own their home, it is vital that legislation in England is at least in line with its neighbours.
“Of course we welcome the Labour Party’s latest policy review and share their ambition to improve standards in the PRS – the case studies the report outlined are a stark reminder of the unacceptable conditions that are thriving in the absence of regulation – but these reforms need to be proportionate.
“More importantly, what we really need is actual policy not proposals; and it must be policy that is consistent and able to keep step with legislative developments elsewhere in Britain.
“Renting should be a positive experience and tenants should know that not only is their money safe but so is the property they live in. All ARLA members must offer a redress service and client money protection to help protect tenants if something goes wrong.”