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Rent-to-rent sector 'must be cleaned up', warn agents

Unscrupulous rent-to-rent operators will try to avoid the changes set out in the Renters (Reform) Bill by not using ASTs, a leading property industry body has warned.

In its response to a Trading Standards consultation into rent-to-rent, Propertymark says it is also concerned that much of the information and promotion surrounding schemes is aimed at dismissing people’s concerns and focusing on earning a passive income or emphasising the lack of effort required for the superior landlord.

Fewer clear regulations and standards leads to uncertainty of expectations and responsibilities - and cases where maintenance obligations are left unfulfilled, with both parties claiming that the other party is responsible.

Propertymark believes the way in which these schemes are established provides an opportunity for rogue landlords to escape their responsibilities which could leave well-intentioned, inexperienced sub-landlords having to maintain poor quality housing where full details about a deteriorated property aren’t fully provided.


There is also potential for a superior landlord to take advantage of an inexperienced operator, for example by passing on the responsibility for refurbishing properties or pushing them to operate in illegal ways.

“Rent-to-rent operators need to be able to evict occupants at the end of their contract with the superior landlord, and therefore will be more likely to avoid using AST agreements,” it says. Instead, they might choose to sub-let on a short-term basis, leaving tenants without the same legal protections.

However, Propertymark adds that members have had good experiences of working with rent-to-rent operators and says there are ways to help avoid the market becoming host to poor practices, including by letting agents working with landlords and operators to ensure they understand their duties.

“We also believe that rent-to-rent schemes should sign up to a deposit protection scheme, establish client money protection, join an independent redress scheme, and be required to meet the same housing standards as traditional PRS properties.”

Read one rent-to-rent landlord horror story.


Rent to rent
National trading standards