Landlords should be licensed as part of changes
Sarah Rushbrook, Managing Director of Rushbrook & Rathbone, has said that as part of the Government’s intervention into cleaning up the lettings industry, such as the recently announced compulsory redress scheme for letting and property management agents, landlords should also be licensed to tackle the core problems.
Under the new plans, tenants will be able to avoid hidden fees, request longer term tenancies for added stability and feel confident to demand better standards of management for their property by landlords. Rushbrook and Rathbone says whilst they agree with the principles of these changes, sound bite solutions are not enough. Sarah Rushbrook comments “All those in this industry, just like any other, are in it to make profit, they are not doing it for the love of mankind, this is a business and that must be remembered. With that in mind, I agree agents should have a legal obligation to ensure they act responsibly to protect their clients with Client Money Protection and Professional Indemnity insurance. However, what about landlords?”
Sarah Rushbrook, who has worked in the property management industry for over 25 years says that in order to abide by the many rules and guidelines now enforced to let and manage a property thoroughly and to the standard that should be expected, agents need to charge realistic fees. “This has always been the case, then, when some agents started to offer a fully managed service at under 10%, some as low as 6%, some landlords naturally jumped at the chance. A level of service and reassurance is being sacrificed in order to offer this. It is my experience that if landlords can’t make a profit paying for a legitimate service that will enable them to provide a high standard of living for their tenants, then they can’t really afford to enter the buy-to-let industry. They are just as responsible for determining the profit they make from tenants as agents and they should be held accountable for this.”
According to Sarah Rushbrook, checking the affordability and licensing landlords could protect good and law-abiding landlords and tenants, just as increased legislation is supposed to protect reputable letting agents, and provide tenants with choice. “If they opt for a landlord that isn’t licensed then they risk facing the consequences” she concludes.