Landlords are as much a victim of rogue letting agents as tenants, stated amid calls from RLA for greater regulation.
According to the RLA, two thirds of landlords use letting agents for some level of service and are as vulnerable to cowboys as tenants.
In a statement, the RLA said: “For too long the sector has remained unprofessional, unregulated and not transparent enough.
“Landlords should be able to have confidence that their agent is qualified to provide the best possible advice within a system that avoids agents being able to cease trading at a minute’s notice and run off with landlords’ and tenants’ money.”
Richard Jones, policy director of the RLA, said: “Almost 90% of landlords in the country are either individuals or couples, many of which rely on letting agents to manage their properties properly. For too long these agents have been trusted with landlord and tenant money without any robust regulatory system to protect it.
“The RLA agrees with the committee’s conclusions in this respect as the best route to tackle cowboy practices which have for too long been allowed to continue unhindered.”
The committee’s report, to which the RLA provided both written and oral evidence, also confirms the RLA’s growing concerns about a lack of robust data on rents in the sector.
Jones said: “Good policy requires good data. For too long the data on private sector rents has been based on organisations playing a game of pick and mix with the figures that best suit whatever argument they want to make.
“For the sake of the public and policy makers who must be bewildered by the large amount of contradicting information, it’s time to take the spin out of rent data and establish a single, robust and credible rent data survey in which the entire industry can have confidence.”
Martin & Co Huddersfield (Letting Agent Huddersfield, Property Management Huddersfield and Estate Agent Huddersfield) owner William Taylor added “this day cannot come soon enough. All too often I speak with landlords that had been attracted to ‘over night’ agencies through promises and cheap fee’s. We self regulate ourselves and have all of the advised processes in order, including client money bank accounts, client money protection, ombudsman membership etc. I genuinely can’t wait for the day that the industry can stop being tarnished by these rogues.”