Date Published 23 October 2012
A new and wide-ranging inquiry into the Private Rented Sector is to be conducted by an influential cross-party group of MPs.
Regulation of all landlords and letting agents is on the table – something which previous housing minister Grant Shapps always steered away from, but something for which current minister Mark Prisk has shown an appetite.
The Communities and Local Government Select Committee, chaired by Clive Betts, will also be looking at whether to introduce rent controls.
Its look at whether to regulate all letting agents will include their fees and charges.
Jane Ingram, president of the Association of Residential Lettings Agents, said: `We welcome the inquiry by the Communities and Local Government Committee into regulation of letting agents.
`ARLA has long campaigned for statutory regulation of letting agents, and with more people living in the Private Rented Sector than ever before it is time for the Government to finally take action.
`Currently anyone can set up as a letting agent without any qualifications or knowledge about their legal requirement. This is simply not good enough, and means that consumers can be taken for a ride by rogue agents.
`We look forward to inputting into the inquiry and making the case for greater regulation of the sector.`
The CLG Committee is inviting submissions from interested parties covering the following issues:
• the quality of private rented housing, and steps that can be taken to ensure that all housing in the sector is of an acceptable standard
• levels of rent within the private rented sector – including the possibility of rent control and the interaction between housing benefit and rents
• regulation of landlords, and steps that can be taken to deal with rogue landlords
• regulation of letting agents, including agents’ fees and charges
• the regulation of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), including the operation of discretionary licensing schemes imposed by a local authority for a category of HMO in its area
• tenancy agreements and length and security of tenure
• how local authorities are discharging their homelessness duty by being able to place homeless households in private sector housing.