Saturday, June 06, 2009

Landlord licensing and agent regulation – impact assessments now published

Those interested in the governments consultation paper issued in response to the Rugg Report, will also be interested in the impact assessments which have now been published by the Department for Communities ands Local Government .

Impact assessment for regulation of Landlords
This is available to download from here. This shows that there are two options under consideration. The first is full licensing, which would involve a five year fee of £500 per property. The second is a web based national register. This will involve an annual fee of £30-50 per landlord.

Although both options are discussed in the report, it is clear that it is just the second option, the web based register, which is being seriously considered. All landlords will be required to sign up to this, although landlords who are members of existing organisations (presumably landlord associations) will be passported into the register. In return for signing up to the register, landlords will be offered benefits such as free documents e.g. tenancy agreements, and property advertising.

The report analysis is on the basis of 1 million landlords with 3 million properties.

Impact assessment for regulation of Agents
This is available for download from here. There are only two options discussed in the report, doing nothing and mandatory regulation. Regulation is the favoured option.

The report states that there are around 8,000 letting agents, only half of which are members of a professional organisation (such as ARLA or RICS). The large number of unregulated agents is undesirable as they are not compelled to have any client money protection or undergo any training on property management. Apparently some 60% of landlords use letting agents to manage their properties, so many landlords are at risk of poor practice by unregulated agents.

The report estimates that existing members of professional organisations will be passported into the scheme. Others will have to pay a joining fee in the region of £180 pa, and all agents will then have to pay an annual fee in the region of £120 pa.

Implementation of this (which has been widely called for across the industry) will protect both landlords and tenants from fund misappropriation, and will provide a more 'level playing field' for those agents who are currently operating properly (with the associated costs which this involves).

Note that I have set up an answer form for those wishing to respond to the governments consultation paper here. This now provides links to these two impact assessments.

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