What, yet another six week consultation?
“This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 29 November 2017”
Email to LEASEHOLD.Reform@communities.gsi.gov.uk
or respond online.
The Case for Change
“The Case for Change
Q1.1 Do you agree with analysis of the problems in the market set out in this chapter? What regulatory measures could better empower leaseholders to manage the quality and cost of the services they receive?
Q1.2 Is a new regulatory approach required for property management agents? If not, why not?
Q1.3 Aside from regulation, are there any alternative means the Government should consider for driving up standards and professionalism in the sector?
Q1.4 What should be the scope and objectives of any regulation? In particular:
i. Which agents and individuals working within managing agents should be covered? Should individuals, companies and officers be treated differently?
ii. What types of services should be included? And should any types of companies or services be excluded?
iii. Should any other classes of people or property professionals be covered by any regulator?
Q2.1 Is there a need for minimum entry requirements for managing agents, similarly to the commitment to introduce such requirements for letting agents?
If so, what should these requirements include – a fit and proper person test and/ or qualifications or training? Are there any risks, for example that this might stifle innovation?
Q2.2 If qualifications or training are required, what should they cover? What qualifications or courses already exist and are they necessary and sufficient?
Q2.3 Should any qualifications and training requirements differ depending on role and service offered? (E.g. different requirements for company officers, or differing requirements for repairs compared to contract negotiations?)
Q2.4 What are the core elements that should be covered in setting appropriate standards for letting agents and for property managing agents?
Q2.5 Do Codes of Practice have a role in any future regulatory approach?
Q2.6 Could Codes of Practice (or any other reforms) have a role in addressing service charge abuses? Could and should they be used to tackle conflicts of interest which might arise, perhaps from connected companies?
Q2.7 How should a future system build on the existing codes? What elements of existing codes would be useful to retain? Are there elements that could go further?
Approaches to enforcement and regulation
Q3.1. Which of the following options do you believe would have the greatestimpact in driving up standards and increasing consumer confidence in the sector:
a. Requiring all letting agents and managing agents to be members of a relevant professional body. This would require professional bodies or organisations to be approved by Government, possibly operating to one Code of Conduct.
b. As above, but with oversight from a regulatory body, established or approved by Government.
c. Government establishing or approving a new regulatory body, which agents are required to sign up to, with membership of a professional body optional?
Q3.2 What implementation issues would need to be considered e.g. cost, corporate governance requirements, timescales for introduction?
Q3.3 Are there other regulatory models that the Government should be exploring? Please give details.
Q3.4 What powers would any new regulatory body require to enforce its
Q3.5 How could the requirement to be a member of an approved or regulatory body be effectively enforced? Should enforcement responsibility sit with any new regulatory body? What would be an appropriate penalty for noncompliance?
Q3.6 Should the Government establish a new regulatory body to cover all the issues within leasehold and private rented management, lettings and, potentially, estate agency? Or should separate bodies be established?
Please explain your answer.
Rights to switch agents and challenge charges
Q4.1 What changes could be made to ensure that consumers are protected from unfair fees and charges, including major works?
Q4.2 How can we support consumers to challenge unfair fees and ensure that they have a route to redress?
Q4.3 How can we make it easier for leaseholders to access their right to manage? What further measures are required to make it easier for consumers to choose or switch agent? Should we introduce a power of veto for leaseholders over a landlord’s choice of managing agent?
Q4.4 Could and should a regulator act as a consumer champion? What powers might they need to support this?
Q4.5 Should regulatory bodies have a role in providing information to consumers about the qualifications or performance of property agents? If so how could information be of the greatest benefit for consumers? What information should be provided? Should it be public?
Q4.6 Are there other issues relating to the regulation of letting and managing agents that we should consider? Please explain.”
I’m orf writing:
“Dear Squire Javid…”