New Regulations to Tackle Rogue Agents on the Cards at Last

Posted by: Katie Piper | Post date: 10.04.18

As a self-regulating letting and management agent who take their commitment to their landlords, tenants and leaseholders very seriously, the fact that some agents out there have been flagrantly ripping people off makes us very cross indeed.  Horror stories about rogue agents charging sneaky extra fees, undertaking shoddy work and even absconding with people’s money make us feel ashamed to be associated with letting and managing agents who behave in this way.  That’s why we were delighted to read about the new government initiative to regulate the industry and make sure agents who behave badly get what they deserve.

Professional Standards

Part of the proposed measures announced by the Secretary of State this month to stop these scoundrels giving letting agents a bad name, is a compulsory code of conduct.  What they are essentially proposing here is to enforce a scheme like the ARLA registration which we are already signed up to.  It requires our staff to be trained to a certain level with one of us trained to an even higher level with regular CPD to ensure we keep abreast of the latest changes and keep our skills up to date.  We’re very pleased that all letting agents will soon be held to similar standards.  They won’t be as good as us though, obviously.

Protecting Money

Apparently, up to £2.7billion of clients’ funds are held by letting agents at any one time and, as only 60% of agents are currently using the Client Money Protection scheme, that’s a scary amount of money that’s vulnerable to all kinds of skulduggery and could be lost if the letting firm were to shut down.  We’re already signed up to this scheme, of course, but these new regulations would make it compulsory for all letting agents.  They’re suggesting that agents who don’t comply with the scheme could be fined up to £30,000.  This is good.

Leaseholder Power

Because leaseholders are often in the position where their landlord chose their property’s managing agent, they don’t have much control over the service they receive or the fees they pay, unfortunately.  It often leads to managing agents having a pretty shocking reputation for offering very poor value for money.  As we know it doesn’t have to be this way, we’re glad to hear that the new proposals will give leaseholders the power to challenge excessive fees or extra charges as well as demand a change in managing agent if they receive bad service or if the terms of the agreement with them is breached.  Overall, it will give leaseholders more control over their building management services.

These new proposals are being developed by a working group and are expected to be finalised some time in 2019.  As responsible letting and managing agents, we think it’s only fair that every agent is held to a standard that protects people’s money while stopping agents providing a poor service or charging rip off fees.  We don’t find it difficult to stick to these standards so we don’t think any agent has an excuse for doing otherwise.  We’ll still be the best though, just to make that clear!  If you’d like to know how we maintain these high standards and what we can offer to landlords and tenants, call 01273 917791 or email info@lawtonanddawe.co.uk.