The National Landlords Association (NLA) welcomes the OFT’s recommendations to build standards in the letting agent market.
Better conformity to legislation would ensure consistently high standards across the industry and could help to build consumer and landlord confidence in the private-rented sector.
It is important that Government, industry and professional bodies work together to agree a workable strategy. Partnership can only help efforts to improve the sector and increase standards. In this vein, an enforcement strategy for those who do not conform to the agreed standards is essential.
The NLA encourages letting agents to join professional bodies such as UKALA to benefit from their support and guidance. Membership of professional bodies also offers reassurance and increases standards to existing and potential customers that they are able to pass particular quality assessments.
The NLA believes that education is crucial to upholding standards. The NLA encourages a letting agent accreditation programme in the same vein as NLA Accreditation for landlords.
In addition, clarity and transparency over fees and charges will only prove to benefit landlords and tenants who use the services of agents. While a dispute service to resolve any problems, such as those provided by tenancy deposit protection providers would be invaluable to ensuring all parties are treated fairly.