Date Published 09 April 2013
London mayor Boris Johnson believes that letting agents should be regulated, at least to the extent that they must belong to an ombudsman service.
The revelation, which came from his deputy for housing, Richard Blakeway, means that there is at least one high-level Tory who supports some kind of regulation of letting agents, as proposed by the Hayter amendment.
Blakeway and Johnson have until now pursued a wholly voluntary approach, and in December, Johnson published plans for the London Rental Standard, which aims to improve conditions in the private rented sector through self regulation.
But Blakeway said that while the majority of London’s letting agents provide a valuable service, there are still too many who do not take their responsibilities seriously enough.
Blakeway said: `This is why the mayor is working towards a new, voluntary, London Rental Standard and supports the campaign to ensure letting agents join an ombudsman, something which is already a legal requirement for estate agents.
`This would not only give peace of mind to the quarter of Londoners who are private renters but also create a more competitive market for letting agent services.`
A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: `We continually work with industry and regulatory bodies to improve the system. However, we recognise that the lack of redress against some letting agents is a real concern for many landlords and tenants. Government is currently looking at this issue and giving it serious consideration.`