Landlords have a once-in-lifetime opportunity to help shape the future of the private rental sector following the launch of a consultation today on the looming Code of Practice for agents.
This code will soon govern how agents encourage and respect diversity; treat consumers fairly; undertake training and development, deal with conflicts of interests, handle complaints and protect both client money and data.
It also sets standards for transparency of communication and reporting property safety issues.
The steering group running the government-backed initiative has published the first draft of the code, which sets out the behaviours that landlords should expect of their letting agents when the code goes live.
Agents will soon have to apply for a ‘licence to operate’ which could be revoked if they are found to have ignored the code.
This will immediately chase the rogue letting agent element of the sector out of the industry and require the rest to adhere to higher levels of customer service and probity.
The Code will apply to agents across the UK and is the result of Lord Best’s Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) report published last year.
The steering group’s chair, Baroness Hayter, says: “The new code of practice will look to set standards at a higher level than currently legally set. The ambition of the code is that it will become a requirement for obtaining a licence to practice in the future, which will increase trust across the sector.
“Input from consumers, stakeholders, interest groups and the industry is paramount to ensuring that the Code of Practice is balanced, fit for purpose and meets the requirements of a future Regulator.”