An Industry Under The Microscope

The lettings industry has been subject to tremendous legislative change over the past few years. In 2018 and 2019 alone, at least 15 changes to lettings legislation were either announced or came into effect. These ranged from the regular, mandatory updates to the How to Rent Guide, to the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act in England and the Renting Homes (Fees Etc.) (Wales) Act 2019 in Wales.

The Government’s laser-focus on the lettings industry is due to a number of factors, not least among them the growing demographic of renters, who are expected to comprise 25% of the population in the UK by 2021. The desire to attract this demographic’s vote, plus pressure from consumer advocacy groups such as Shelter, means that the Government has “committed to improving the standard and quality of the residential lettings sector and in order to do that, it’s required to introduce new pieces of legislation,” notes property industry consultant Allison Nevins.

Ever-changing housing ministers (the current housing minister is the ninth in as many years) means many of these changes have been protracted. Overwhelming though the constant changes might be, they do represent a net good for the industry, either by replacing outdated legislation or creating new legislation to improve the sector for letting agents, landlords and tenants alike.

Increased legislation also helps to further professionalise the marketplace and rid the industry of rogue agents. The increased compliance required to rent out a home could also see more landlords turning to letting agents manage their properties for them.