New safeagent enforcement toolkit helps councils to tackle rogue letting and managing agents
A new letting agent enforcement toolkit has today (29 November 2021) been published by safeagent, the UK’s leading not for profit accreditation scheme for lettings and management agents operating in the private rented sector.
According to safeagent, effective enforcement is crucial if we are to stamp out rogue agents in the private rented sector and ensure consumers are protected.
With councils under continued pressure to effectively police the private rented sector, the toolkit gives them the tools to enforce legislation robustly, providing Trading Standards teams with a complete guide to regulating agents, in a step-by-step format.
First published in 2016, safeagent created the toolkit as a unique resource to support local authorities in protecting tenants and landlords, while also creating consistency in enforcement, and raising standards and professionalism in the industry.
The third edition of the toolkit has been further updated to reflect the legal requirement for lettings and management agents to belong to a client money protection scheme if they hold client money. The toolkit references over 100 Tribunal decisions from across England.
It also includes template warning letters to letting agents who are failing to comply with legal duties, advice on serving civil penalties and even examples on how to highlight enforcement action to the local media.
Safeagent is one of six government approved client money protection scheme providers. Failure to belong to client money protection scheme can result in a civil financial penalty up to £30,000. The full list of approved schemes is available here.
Isobel Thomson, Chief Executive of safeagent, said:
“We’re all too aware of the challenges Local Authorities face in carrying out their work in the PRS. That’s why we created the Effective Enforcement Toolkit in the first place to support their work in ensuring that all agents comply with the legislation.
“We would like to thank those Trading Standards officers from across the country who gave their time and expertise in developing this latest version to ensure their colleagues across England are fully equipped to enforce the important legislation that protects landlords and tenants.“
Sean Hooker, Head of Redress at the Property Redress Scheme, added:
“The Toolkit is a superb resource for Trading Standards teams, helping to protect renters and landlords, while also driving up professionalism and compliance within the lettings industry. It is an example of collaborative working that can only be to the benefit of all in the sector.“
London Property Licensing is proud to have been involved in researching and developing the toolkit for safeagent. Richard Tacagni MCIEH CEnvH worked alongside Westminster City Council Trading Standards and members of the London Trading Standards Lettings Group to create the toolkit.
The Effective Enforcement toolkit is available free of charge on the safeagent website.
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