New Holistic Department Policing Letting And Estate Agencies Launched
A new umbrella team has been set up to oversee and police all regulatory legislation for both estate and letting agents.
Under the new holistic department, The National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) will oversee and enforce the Estate Agents Act 1979 as well as the new Tenants Fees Act that will come into force from June 2019.
Primarily, the team will be responsible for the following issues concerning estate agents in the UK and letting agents in England:
- overseeing the operation of relevant estate and letting agency legislation
- issuing prohibition and formal warning orders to those found unfit to engage in estate agency work in the UK
- approving and overseeing the UK’s consumer redress schemes, Ombudsmen, and Alternative Dispute Resolution entities in the estate agency sector
- issuing guidance and advice for the public, businesses and enforcement authorities on estate agency work in the UK and relevant letting agency work in England.
Previously known as the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT), the newly formed NTSELAT will continue to work from their separate offices with letting agency regulation, covering England, based within Bristol County Council and estate agency enforcement, UK wide, operating from Powys County Council.
Whilst lettings and estate agency enforcement will operate in different locations, it is hoped that amalgamating the teams will lead to a more efficient and consistent system for consumers.
James Munro, Head of National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, said:
“Bringing the two functions – lead enforcement authority for estate agency work and lead enforcement authority for lettings agency work – under one team will mean there is a single point of contact for enforcement work in this area. This single team approach will help us uphold consumers’ rights and enforce the law.”
Heather Wheeler, Housing Minister, said:
“We are determined to make the private rented sector a fairer, more accessible market that works for all and I am delighted that local authorities will now be able to access the best advice and information from this new team. There is no place for unfair fees – now, with this new enforcement authority, we will be able to stamp them out.”
Councillor Steve Pearce, Bristol City Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Regulatory Services, commented:
“We are delighted to be hosting this new function and playing our part in delivering a solution that combines both regulatory functions into a joint team that will provide a single coherent regulatory voice and help secure regulatory compliance for consumers.
“This places us at the heart of influencing the government policy to help enhance consumer protection.
“This is a hugely challenging area of regulation and we look forward to playing a leading role assisting enforcement authorities in the course of their duties.”
Will this new legislative body create a fairer system for the private rental sector?