GFWLetting Back Ombudsmans Call For Regulation Of Letting Agents
Fran Mulhall, Lettings Manager at GFWLetting has backed the calls from the Property Ombudsman Christopher Hamer for the Government to introduce regulation into the lettings market.
“With the Ombudsman receiving over 15,000 complaints in 2012 and only 60% of letting agents signing up to one of several voluntary codes it is clear that something must be done to protect landlords and agents alike”, said Fran. “This situation has gone on long enough and with easy money to be made by unscrupulous agents the Government needs to act swiftly”.
“Both the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) and our own governing body the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) are calling for letting agents to be treated in the same way as sales agents. We are dealing with people’s lives here not to mention significant investments and every letting agent should be made to comply with minimum ethical standards”.
The Property Ombudsman upheld almost three-quarters of complaints against lettings agents (73.8%).
Poor service was the biggest cause of complaint (54%) while issues about letting agent’s fees and charges were raised in 12% of inquiries. Of those cases which went on to be investigated by the Ombudsman, 50% of issues concerned poor service whilst the percentage of fees and charges issues increased to 20%.
Fran went on to say “Agents need to be up front and transparent with their fees to both Landlords and Tenants alike; too many agents have hidden costs further down the line, are unclear when charges can be applied or charge for substandard work. For a great many people moving house is a huge step and they do not need the additional stress of spotting the cowboy operative from the real thing”.
“Tenants want to know that the house they are moving into is safe, complies with the minimum statutory safety checks and that they will be treated with respect. Responsible landlords want good tenants who would will look after their investment and agents who can advise and guide them, operating to the highest professional standards”.