ARLA welcomes government response to Rugg Review

“ARLA welcomes a response from the Government to the Rugg Review and its commitment to a fair deal for tenants, landlords and professional agents through licensing.

“The Government itself recognises that the rented sector grew by 17% between 2007 and 2008 and continues to grow, so it’s vitally important that the Government is committed to ousting the rogue landlords and agents from the industry.

“This is something we at the Association have long been calling for – increased standards for the consumer. In fact, ARLA launched its own Licensing scheme for letting agents just last week, which has clearly informed the Government’s thinking as all of the points we demanded to be required as a minimum are included in this response.

“However ARLA believes that if consumers use a licensed agent there is no need for a landlord to be licensed too. We feel that this would encourage greater freedom of choice for landlords.”

“We must disagree with the Government’s assertions surrounding professional qualifications for agents. It runs contrary to the flavour of the original report to fall down on this particular point. It is a widely held industry view that qualifications are key to the professionalization of the sector and a necessary step in restoring faith to the consumers.”

ARLA also notes that the paper that the Government recognises that the condition of housing stock in the rental sector is in many cases sub-standard, particularly when it comes to energy efficiency. Ian Potter comments: “We recommended to the Treasury that tax incentives for landlords be included in the Budget for exactly this reason. Our research of landlords shows that if this kind of incentive were to be offered more than six in 10 would use the additional money to upgrade their property portfolio.

“ARLA also called for the introduction of capital allowances for landlords improving housing stock over a certain age as well as an increase the Landlords Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) to include the installation of central heating systems. Yet the opportunity was missed and it’s difficult to see where the money will now come from.

“This document represents a historic shift in attitude towards the private rented sector and ARLA looks forward to working closely with the Government on its proposals to ensure increased standards of professionalism in the lettings industry.”