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Smaller landlords 'need protection from rogues too' says Trading Standards

trading standards landlords

Smaller landlords need as much protection as tenants from rogue operators, a Lords committee inquiry into the regulation of property agents has been told.

Allison Farrar, operations manager at National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (main picture), said she often came across landlords and small agents who did not have any back-up.

“They don’t see themselves as a business and don’t get advice,” she said. “They get conned, for example in rent-to-rent or are victims of property sourcers.

“Tenants are vulnerable but lots of business are too as they’re up against big business and property investors making huge amounts of money.”

Farrar added that landlords were leaving the sector because they could no longer meet costs, and a regulator should take that into account.

She suggested that bigger players - some of whom were abusing the system - could be dealt with in a priority way, which would open up the housing market for all those doing it for the right reasons.


Rebecca Marsh, ombudsman and chief executive at The Property Ombudsman, told peers that any code of practice had to cover expectations around behaviour, such as teaching letting agents how to listen, communicate and respond, which was “appallingly bad in a number of areas”.

She said the ROPA working group aimed to take a code forward, but without a regulator it was difficult to drive cultural change. There should only be one ombudsman in a sector, added Marsh, to avoid confusion.

“We operate an ombudsman scheme that interrogates, but the other scheme is a basic redress scheme, so you don’t get a level playing field and consumers are getting a different service.

“If agents are choosing the redress provider, how can you as a consumer have confidence that they are choosing the best one?”

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