In calling for the compulsory regulation of lettings agents, RICS believes it could, when combined with the introduction of professional standards for all agents, generate over £20 million of benefits per year to the UK economy.
At the current time anyone can set up a lettings agency without appropriate qualifications or industry knowledge. RICS believes it is costing the wider economy millions every year.
RICS research shows that, following an initial set-up cost of £45 million, the regulation of UK lettings agents and the introduction of professional standards for all agents to the industry would provide net benefits of over £20 million per year. Such new statutory requirements would pay for themselves within less than two-and-a-half years, by avoiding complex red tape while offering the consumer increased levels of protection, the trade body said.
Peter Bolton King, RICS Global residential director, said: “These findings demonstrate exactly why the government needs to act, not just to safeguard the thousands of tenants and landlords who fall victim to unscrupulous practice, but also to relieve pressure on the wider economy. It’s encouraging that the introduction of professional standards and new compulsory regulation proposals being sought by RICS, has support from other industry players and consumer groups, and has now received cross party support. But what we need now is action.
“RICS has long called for a single regulatory and redress system for letting agents, which this survey demonstrates is clearly supported by the overwhelming majority of consumers. Until this happens, we recommend that tenants use a lettings agent that is a member of a professional organisation, such as RICS.”