Professionalise the PRS to safeguard tenant health and safety

As a report from the Commons Health and Social Care Committee (HSCC) calls for urgent action from the UK Government to set out a timetable for a Decent Homes Standard for the private rented sector (PRS), Propertymark reiterates the need for robust training, qualifications, and competency standards for property managers across both sectors, as well as adequate resources to enforce standards.

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The Decent Homes Standard was last updated in 2006, and it has been over three years since the UK Government committed to reviewing it and extending the requirements to the PRS. The latest HSCC report calls for a determined focus on developing healthy places, saying that homes in the PRS contribute disproportionately to the total number of poor-quality homes.

All tenants should benefit from professional agents

Under the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023, the Regulator of Social Housing can set standards on the competence and conduct of staff involved in housing management. This includes mandatory qualification requirements for senior managers and executives, such as a foundation degree or similar. Yet, no comparable requirements exist for the PRS.

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18 Jan 2024
Shadow minister and leasehold leader echo Propertymark call for agent regulation

Propertymark believes that all property agents should be qualified. Without minimum entry requirements for agents to practise, consumers are potentially dealing with someone who does not understand the technicalities of buying, selling, or renting property or how to analyse the level of risk to their business.

Ensuring agents are suitably qualified and meet minimum competency standards is the only sure way to drive up standards of service for consumers and eliminate bad practices in the sector.

The first step to levelling the playing field for tenants regardless of where they rent is for the UK Government to extend the requirements for property managers in the social rented sector to be qualified for the private rented sector.

Recommendations have been set out in the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group Report and a clear roadmap to regulation would not only drive up standards and protections for consumers, but support the implementation of the Decent Homes Standard as part of the Renters (Reform) Bill. 

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Timothy Douglas Head of Policy and Campaigns | Propertymark

Effective enforcement is the key to higher standards

Responding to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) consultation in 2022, Propertymark voiced support for providing warm and decent homes for all and creating parity between the social and private rented sectors. However, we raised concerns about the immense strain local authorities are already under when trying to enforce existing standards. DLUHC must recognise that sufficient resources and commitment will be required to ensure consistent and regular enforcement of a universal Decent Homes Standard.

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08 Nov 2022
Effective and well-funded local authority enforcement key to improve rented home standards

Awaab’s Law

A consultation launched by the Housing Secretary on 9 January 2024, proposes introducing new strict time limits for social housing providers and forcing them to take swift action in addressing dangerous hazards such as dampness and mould.  

Social landlords would be legally required to investigate hazards within 14 days, start fixing within a further 7 days, and make emergency repairs within 24 hours. Those landlords who fail could be taken to court and ordered to pay compensation to tenants.

The HSCC recommends that the UK Government should consider how similar safeguards could be extended to the PRS to protect tenants from hazards which can pose an immediate danger to health.

How Propertymark members are regulated

Agents join Propertymark voluntarily to showcase their commitment to providing exceptional service and help ensure they remain at the forefront of the industry. We hold our members accountable to protect consumers and provide peace of mind when they see a Propertymark Protected logo.

We have a rigorous disciplinary process that will allow us to investigate any members who fail to uphold the professional standards that membership demands.

Qualifications and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are at the heart of our membership. From Associate level right through to Fellow, qualification is mandatory to be a Propertymark member. Plus, to maintain their membership, all Propertymark agents must complete a minimum of 12 hours of CPD every year.

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Propertymark unites the experience of five leading professional bodies covering lettings, sales, auctioneering, commercial property and inventories to promote the highest standards of professionalism and integrity within the property industry.