UK agents launch 2015 manifesto for sale and rental housing sectors

Taylor Scott International News

Estate and lettings agents in the UK have launched their 2015 housing manifesto calling for better supply, enhanced regulation, and a change to property taxes. The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) launched the manifesto today at the third consecutive NAEA Conference. During the last six months NAEA and ARLA have met professionals, politicians, experts and campaigners across the UK to understand their hopes and fears for the housing sector. The three main concerns which were identified were the lack of supply, a need for more regulation in lettings and sales, and appropriate taxes across the whole property spectrum. ‘Britain is standing today on the precipice of a crisis in the supply of housing. We are simply not building enough homes to meet burgeoning demand from both the sales and private rented sectors,’ said Mark Hayward, managing director, NAEA. ‘We are growing as a society, and our needs for housing have developed from what they may have been previously. But what still rings true is that everyone has a universal right to a home. And our deep-rooted concern is that government policy on housing, as it currently stands, cannot deliver on this requirement,’ he pointed out. He explained that providing housing, or more importantly homes, requires finance, suitable land, time and skill. ‘Policymakers seem to have forgotten this. Housing cannot be a political football for future governments to use to score points against each other. Ultimately we need to take the politics out of housing. We know this is easier said than done. So instead we ask for all future parliamentarians to maintain a long-term progressive view and to deliver on our manifesto commitments,’ he added. David Cox, ARLA managing director, highlighted the need for greater regulation in the private rented sector. ‘Britain currently maintains a two tier private rented market, consisting of those who operate to professional standards and those that do not,’ he said. ‘Consumers often do not know the difference between the two, thus the onus falls on them to be able to tell the difference. Our agents are already regulated and operate to the highest professional standards. They are fully qualified and we offer tenants and landlords client money protection,’ he explained. ‘The certainty we provide should not be the gold standard, but what every consumer should demand from their agent. It is imperative therefore that letting agents be members of a client money protection scheme, and that regulation be tightened for the entire industry,’ he added. ‘Greater regulation for letting agents in particular will ensure fairness, a level playing field and the removal of those agents who bring the industry into disrepute,’ he concluded. Taylor Scott International

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