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Yet more regulation of rental sector on the way, predicts Propertymark

Once the worst of the Coronavirus crisis passes there’s likely to be much more regulation of parts of the rental sector according to the head of ARLA Propertymark.

Chief executive David Cox forecasts that yet more legislation is on the cards once the government resumes something like normal business.

“[Post-crisis] I think they’re going to be looking at more regulation of landlords. I think we will go into a much tougher regime on property standards” Cox told a webinar hosted by PropTech firm Goodlord.

He says the key to success will be for the industry to lead that change rather than merely react to it.

“We are trying to get out ahead of that with the concept of a property MOT; if we can try and shape what comes next, it’s going to be much easier for the industry to accept than to have a whole collection of laws thrown at us like we have over the past 10 years” he told webinar delegates.

“Let’s get out in front of it, so we’re on the front foot.”

He also suggested that agents and other players in the rental sector remember that other legal changes are still in the pipeline, despite the virus challenge.

That includes the abolition of Section 21, Electrical Safety Regulations on new tenancies – coming into effect on July 1 – and the emphasis on agent training contained in the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents working group.

In the shorter term, the first Friday out of lockdown is likely to be one of the busiest in the lettings industry’s history suggests Cox.

“There’s clearly a massive amount of pent-up demand in the market. Our message is just put everything on pause – don’t cancel it. The first Friday out of lockdown is probably going to be one of the biggest moving days in the lettings industry’s history.”

He described the industry’s response to the Coronavirus crisis so far as “exceedingly professional”  and advised agents to focus on how they will handle the first seven days back” when the market is predicting a surge in new tenancy applications.

And he advised assessing capacity requirements and logistical changes needed to respond to that demand.

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