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Propertymark urges renters reform regulation

As the Renters Reform Bill progresses through the House of Lords, Propertymark has called for the inclusion of specific measures to regulate property agents and ensure stability in the private rental sector.

Legislative Progress and Key Debates
The Renters’ Reform Bill, discussed in depth during its Second Reading on 15 May, has now advanced to the Committee Stage. The debate was spearheaded by Baroness Swinburne and received input from various peers including Baroness Taylor of Stevenage, who expressed concerns about the dilution of measures aimed at abolishing Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions. Baroness Pinnock and Lord Best also contributed significantly, advocating for the construction of more social housing and expressing concerns over arbitrary evictions.

Recommendations for Amendments
Propertymark has voiced several recommendations to refine the Bill. Notably, the organisation supports maintaining fixed-term tenancies and argues for mandatory written tenancies inclusive of an inventory in England to protect properties and ensure fair deposit deductions. They also highlight the need for letting agents to meet qualification requirements and adhere to ongoing professional development, aligning the private rental sector more closely with the regulated social rented sector.

Concerns and Calls for Comprehensive Regulation
Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, highlighted the transformative potential of the legislation, which he described as the most significant since the 1980s. However, he underscored the anxieties within the sector: “With the removal of fixed term tenancies still a concern and open-ended tenancies reducing the certainty for agents and landlords, the big question is how do we encourage landlords to stay in the Private Rented Sector?” He stressed the importance of qualifying and licensing housing providers to create a level playing field. Douglas concluded by urging legislators not to miss this critical opportunity to regulate property agents, which would offer enhanced protection for both landlords and tenants.

These calls for amendment aim to foster a more stable and equitable private rental market, addressing both the immediate needs and long-term sustainability of housing in England.