The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has voiced concerns that the rental market is in danger of becoming a political football, which could have serious consequences for everyone involved.
At its AGM held in London last week, Adrian Turner, chief executive of ARLA, warned the Housing Bill – which is due to be passed this winter and will provide for the selective licensing of landlords and minimum levels of health and safety in rented property – is likely to impact where it is not needed and make no impact where it is.
Turner said it would encourage local authorities to take the soft option of using respectable landlords and regulated letting agents to meet their targets.
He explained: “They may do this rather than seek out the worst excesses in the private rental sector, where vulnerable people are being exploited and potentially having their lives put at risk by rogue landlords, cowboy agents and almost derelict properties.
“This will happen because successive Governments have not been active enough in support of the professional bodies like ARLA who provide self-regulation, insist on compliance, offer training and have an in-depth knowledge of the opportunities and problems that face the private rental sector.”
ARLA is also looking into a new deposit dispute scheme after the National Tenancy Deposit Scheme was closed by the Government, and has updated its code of practice.