Private Rented Housing: Regulation
Communities and Local Government
Grant Shapps (Minister of State (Housing and Local Government), Communities and Local Government; Welwyn Hatfield, Conservative)
Between a third and a half of agents belong to bodies offering voluntary regulation. These include trade body or accreditation schemes such as the Association of Residential letting Agents, the National Association of Estate Agents, the National Approved Letting Scheme or the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and ensure that their members have the right protections in place and operate to certain standards. They also have redress systems if something goes wrong. At the same time, the industry led initiative, SAFEagent, which was launched last September, provides a simple to recognise logo for consumers.
In view of the existence of these schemes, I do not think that the time is right for Government imposed regulation of the sector which would run the risk of increasing burdens and costs and, therefore, reducing supply and forcing up rents. The last Administration's imposition of Home Information Packs is a prime example of how excessive state regulation and intervention can harm the interests of consumers.