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‘Private tenants need the same protections that social tenants have’

Lifestyle

‘Private tenants need the same protections that social tenants have’

Private tenants ‘suffering’ due to inaction to regulate property industry while social tenants enjoy protection…

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove intends to boost standards in social housing by ensuring that senior members of staff working in social housing are appropriately qualified and have the skills and knowledge to meet new standards following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

Henry Griffith, Policy and Campaigns Officer at Propertymark:   

“If Mr Gove is serious about improving standards throughout the housing sector in general, then he must ensure that private tenants receive the same protections that social tenants do by ensuring letting agents in England and estate agents throughout the UK are qualified. This will ensure that standards are raised throughout the housing market and ensure that anyone who is dealing with the complexities of housing legislation is appropriately qualified to do so.” 

Mr Gove has been keen to do this since February 2023, when the UK Government declared that social housing managers must acquire professional qualifications. But there is no regulation in England that specifies letting or managing agents should have a qualification, and the same goes for estate agents throughout the UK. This means anybody can set up their own estate or letting agency without acquiring the appropriate knowledge regarding existing laws that the housing market must abide by.

This damages the property industry’s reputation as it can lead to rogue agents continuing to operate under the UK Government’s radar.

Scotland has already introduced compulsory qualification requirements for letting agents, which has resulted in substantial improvements in the letting industry there. Propertymark has long supported calls for regulating property agents as they have been prevalent since 2019 when a House of Lords working group called for licensed property agents having a qualification and abiding by a Code of Practice.

Propertymark believes that Mr Gove’s attempt to implement qualifications for the social housing sector should also be an opportunity to do the same for the letting industry in England and estate agents throughout the UK by enacting the House of Lords’ working group’s recommendations from 2019.

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