By Mike White of Martin & Co Lettings, Norwich
The answer as always is “How long is a piece of string”, however, momentum is gathering and hopefully it won’t be too long in coming. In the meantime, NALS (the National Approved lettings Scheme) the only independent regulatory body in the sector which is recognised by the government is forcing the pace. The government has issued its response to the Rugg Report, a review of the Private Rented Sector and one of the key recommendations is the regulation of lettings and management agents.
In order to take forward discussions on this recommendation, NALS established in March 2009 a Licensing Consultative Forum which comprised industry and consumer groups to consider a draft framework prepared by NALS for a statutory licensing scheme. The licensing framework document which has been presented to the Housing Minister and officials and the Department of Communities and Local Government, clearly points to the facility with which mandatory regulation could be introduced, combining the necessary level of protection for the consumer but without placing undue financial burdens or constraints on the business of lettings and management agents.
Given the stringent regulations imposed by NALS on its members, in terms of segregating client funds, undergoing independent audits, having client money protection in place etc., it is easy to understand why a NALS registered firm would passport into a statutory licensing scheme. I know this sounds like an advert for NALS but it is important for all Landlords and Tenants to know that their money is in safe hands and the Landlord’s property is being properly looked after by a professional entity. It’s really important for anyone engaging with a letting agent to ensure, for their own peace of mind,
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that until such time as there is formal government regulation in place they only use an agent which has subjected itself to an independent regulatory body such as NALS (or ARLA or RICS).
*Mike’s at at Martin & Co., on 01603 766860 at 13 St Giles Street Norwich. Proud to be licenced by NALS!