New Code of Practice to be released for letting agents.

On 1st April 2018 the government released a new Code of Practice for letting agents across England ( introduced in Scotland on 31st January 2018).  The new measures mean that agents will be required to obtain a nationally recognised qualification and be answerable to a new independent regulator.The regulator will have responsibility for agents’ working practices and enforcement powers to deal with rogue agents. The new code will be developed by a working group comprising representatives of lettings, managing and estate agents along with tenants and regulation experts.It will also bring about criminal charges against letting and management agents who break the code. Those who fail to comply will be barred from trading and those who commit serious breaches could face prosecution.This is a positive move to regulate the numerous pieces of legislation which have been introduced to the industry but which have not been policed.Following campaigning and lobbying by ARLA Propertymark for over 20 years, the government is finally taking the enforcement of legislation seriously. The hope is that this new code of practice will focus on the main causes of issues within the industry, rather than dealing with smaller problems by releasing new rules and regulations.Landlords will be better protected by only being represented by agents who are professionally qualifies and this ought to help eliminate the poor practice which has tarnished the industry. Similarly, regulation on Clients’ Money Protection is essential for landlords to be able to safeguard their assets.We hope that this will help to create a more transparent industry and increase customer confidence. However, the code could take a while to be introduced and how it is actually implemented will be essential to its success.At Hazells we are well placed to embrace the new Code of Practice since we are already members of both Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (abiding by its Code of Conduct) and ARLA Propertymark and have Clients’ Money Protection through the RICS.  Based on an article by Sarah Bush of Cheffins, Cambridge. April 2018