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Minister’s decision ‘disappointing’ says Property Ombudsman

‘Whilst it was unrealistic to expect any legislation immediately, the decision by the Housing Minister potentially leaves landlords and tenants exposed to the rogue element in the lettings sector, particularly so in relation to client money protection,’ said Mr. Hamer.

‘I will continue to contribute to the current debate amongst industry bodies seeking a joined up and consistent approach to redress along with clear standards of business, consumer protection and awareness being developed and I hope Mr. Shapps supports this approach.’

TPO has already submitted its lettings Code of Practice for approval by the Office of Fair Trading. ‘More than 7,500 letting agency offices have already adopted the standards in the TPO Lettings code but this still leaves many operating outside the scheme leaving consumers outside the scheme and without access to redress when things go wrong and complaints are not resolved,’ added Mr. Hamer.

‘Failing primary legislation, I would urge landlords and tenants to at least ensure they use a TPO member agent which gives them access to redress of up to £25,000 in any one case. They should also ensure they use a firm that is affiliated to a recognised trade organisation.’

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0 thoughts on “Minister’s decision ‘disappointing’ says Property Ombudsman

  1. Laurence Dillamore says:

    The only ‘client’ money that needs protection in the letting environment is the tenants deposit. Those have been protected by primary legislation for the past three years. Being a landlord is a commercial enterprise, the engagement of a letting agent is a commercial appointment and doesn’t merit consumer protection. The onus should be on the trade associations to pro actively promote the benefits (CMP etc) of using their members to the PRS market, rather than seeking to rely on government to enforce membership of their respective organisations under some quasi regulatory ‘licensing’ regime.

  2. Major Landlord says:

    I think Grant Shapps is quite right not to press ahead with even more legislation at present, even though I agree that regulation of agents AND landlords (yes, I’m a landlord!) is overdue.

    The trouble is, we know from 13 years of Labour government how these things all too often pan out: Labour came up with a crackpot idea that was designed to collect taxes and win votes (like HIPs), pushed it through wihout proper consultation and any thought of possible negative consequences, a whole compliance industry was spawned off the back of it, and we all had to pay for it without anyone deriving any real benefit.

    If regulation of agents and landlords is to work, and to produce real benefits, it needs careful thought, lots of consultation, and above all it should NOT lead to the establishment of any more quangoes or private sector rip-offs.

    Meanwhile there are FAR more pressing matters that deserve consideration: particularly the review of a legal system that allows a tenant to default on his rent, and then squat in a landlord’s property rent-free for 7 or more months, while local councils and the CAB encourage the tenant to flout court orders, and even bailiffs cherry-pick those tenants they want to evict, and those they don’t.

    Labour skewed a landlord:tenant relationship that previously worked well in most instances. Unless the resulting unfair balance is redressed, many landlords will withdraw from the private sector, and rents will be forced up by shortage of supply.