Sunday, 9 December 2012

Elected to Vice Chair of APPG Housing Group

I have been elected to the vice chair of the important APPG of the Housing Group. I hope in my time we can shift the debate from predominently Social Housing to the more work on the impact of Private Rented Sector

On that note new chair of the APPG for Housing, Annette Brook MP, has recently tabled EDM 815 which urges the Government to require lettings agents to be members of a Government-approved redress scheme and to meet statutory minimum professional standards to trade.

RICS calls on MP's to support residents in your constituency and bring about reforms to protect them from unscrupulous letting agents. 

I met with RICS lately to discuss the issue of the PRS and issue of first buyers being priced out of home ownership with the escalating costs of the PRS.

Early Day Motion 815 - REGULATORY FRAMEWORK FOR LETTINGS AGENTS
That this House believes that the current regulatory framework for lettings agents offers limited and inconsistent protection of the consumer, creates red tape for business and restricts investment in the private rented sector, does not reflect how consumers interact in the sector and provides no clear distinction between how sales and lettings businesses are now organised; notes that any individual can set up and practise as a lettings agent; understands the importance of a redress mechanism for customer complaints; and urges the Government to require lettings agents to be members of a Government-approved redress scheme and to meet statutory minimum professional standards to trade.
A complete lack of effective regulation has allowed the lettings sector to become the property industry’s Wild West, putting consumers at risk. It is currently possible for anyone to set up a lettings agency without appropriate qualifications, knowledge or understanding of the rental process. In addition, it is not compulsory for agents to conform to any code of conduct, provide safeguards or register with a government-approved redress system. As the private rented sector continues to grow, this is becoming an increasingly important issue with voters. The CLG Select Committee has also recognised this issue and will be examining regulation of letting agents during its current inquiry into the private rented sector.

Invitation Reminder: RICS recently invited you to an industry panel including Shelter, Which? The Association of Residential Letting Agents and the Chartered Institute of Housing, hosted by former Chair of the APPG Stephen Gilbert MP, and supported by current Chair Annette Brooke MP, on Tuesday 8th January 2013, 6pm – 8pm in the Jubilee Room. The panel and invited guests from all sections of the private rented sector will be debating what needs to change to ensure better protection for consumers and less red tape for business. There will be opportunity to ask questions and to establish next steps to improve protection for your constituents