Lettings agents: regulation and consumer protection
In comparison to other professions, private sector lettings agents have been largely unregulated. Limited statutory regulation applies to the industry, and lettings and management agents are not legally required to belong to trade associations. However, recent proposals to increase regulation of lettings agents show that the government is considering establishing a comprehensive regulatory framework for the industry.
In recent years the profession has found itself subject to increased scrutiny, largely because of the rapid growth of the private rented sector, which accounts for 4.45 million households. Private renting is now the second largest tenure in England, and lettings agents’ central involvement in private sector renting and their influence in shaping the housing market has led to calls for greater regulation of the profession. This section explains how regulation affects lettings agents.