London Trading Standards calls for changes to the London lettings landscape and increased partnership working

London Trading Standards is taking the lead in seeking to stimulate and encourage more partnership working, in order to help stand up for London’s tenants and reputable landlords, and improve the rental experience for consumers.

On 25 January 2018, London Trading Standards held its first ever lettings focused seminar entitled Agenda for Change – London Lettings Sector, in collaboration with various key partners. The partners involved in the day include:

  • Greater London Authority
  • Shelter
  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
  • National Approved Letting Scheme
  • Association of Residential Lettings
  • Designs on Property
  • Gough Square Chambers

The ground breaking seminar, held at the Guildhall in the City of London, called for increased partnership working among all involved in the lettings sector. By working together and sharing intelligence, charities, letting agents and local and central government can bring about substantial changes, to help protect tenants, root out rogue landlords and tackle unscrupulous letting and property management agents.

London Trading Standards is working with the lettings industry, including the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), to improve standards. NALS spoke at the seminar about the successful roll out of their enforcement toolkit last year, which offers a step-by-step guide to local authorities on the legalities and requirements of regulating letting agents.

Isobel Thomson, NALS CEO said:

“We are pleased to be part of London Trading Standards’ inaugural lettings sector seminar. NALS firmly believes that to raise standards in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) we must work together. This event provides a valuable opportunity for representatives from the lettings industry, regulators and charities to meet and share ideas about how to collaborate to improve the sector for the benefit of all.”

Martin Harland, Chair of the London Trading Standards (LTS) Letting Agents Working Group added: “We are excited at the prospect of exploring solutions to improving the lettings landscape across London. We welcome the opportunity to showcase the excellent work already being done in London and develop ideas for increased collaboration with partner organisations”.

David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive said:

“We are pleased to be involved in this event as it is only by coming together like this, with Trading Standards departments and the industry sharing ideas and best practice in how to tackle criminal landlords and agents, will we build a better private rented sector for those who make it their home”.

Examples of legal action taken by Trading Standards against letting agents in the past year:

  • Tribunal decision over Foxtons fees display – read more here
  • Innovative prosecution by Islington over sham licences – read more here
  • Westminster helps get repeat fraudster jailed over fake lettings con – read more here
  • East London agent prosecuted by Southwark over false claims – read more here
  • Enfield’s action over “Flyboarding” resulted in 221 removal notices and 185 fixed penalty notices in the last 18 months