In the first session of Communities and Local Government questions yesterday the Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, confirmed what a number of people had suspected. That is, the new government has “no plans to take forward the previous Government’s ideas about further regulatory measures” for the Private Rented Sector.
This means that not only is a National Landlord Register off the menu but also sees the end of any further reform of tenancy legislation as has been recommended by the Law Commission and also the end of regulation of letting and managing agents.
The failure to further regulate lettings agents will be a disappointment to most of the major agent representation bodies who have been calling for regulation and professionalism in the sector for some time.
However, Mr Shapps made clear that there are no plans to overturn the grant of blanket permission for additional and selective licensing schemes and, by implication, that there are no plans to undo the new requirement to obtain planning consent for HMOs. More information on planning consent for HMOs can be obtained by attending the PainSmith Seminar on this topic on 22 June 2010.
The decisions are unsurprising. Given the drive to cut costs it was almost inevitable that these schemes, with their concomitant costs, would be cut. However, Wales has separately expressed a desire to register landlords and regulate letting and managing agents. They cannot currently do so as they do not have the requisite devolved authority but they are pushing hard to have this granted and will probably hold a referendum before the end of 2011 to force the issue. Therefore, while it appears that further regulation of the PRS is dead for the moment it is not true to say that it will not be revived, at least in Wales.