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New Trading Standards ‘police force’ for England and Wales revealed

After years of complaints that enforcement of rogue lettings and sales agents is too weak, new combined force has now been created based in Cardiff and Bristol.

Nigel Lewis

A new national ‘police force’ with dedicated teams for both sales and lettings has been announced, the first of its kind in the UK.

The private rental sector is to be monitored by a new team operated by Bristol City Council which includes enforcing the tenant fees ban, while the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team in Cardiff is to continue overseeing the property sales portion of the industry.

Funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and led by James Munro based in Cardiff  (left), the combined force is to be called the National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT).

It is to act as the lead enforcement authority for the purposes of the Estate Agents Act 1979 and the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

David Cox, ARLA, image“At the moment, there is a severe lack of prosecution in the industry, allowing rogue agents to operate and thrive,” says David Cox (right) of ARLA Propertymark.

“We look forward to building a constructive working relationship with the Lead Enforcement Authority to eliminate these agents from the sector once and for all.”

The combined NTSELAT is to also approve and oversee the industry’s redress schemes, ombudsman services and dispute resolution bodies and also issue guidance.

“We are determined to make the private rented sector a fairer, more accessible market that works for all and I am delighted that local authorities will now be able to access the best advice and information from this new team,” says Housing Minister Heather Wheeler MP (left).

“There is no place for unfair fees – now, with this new enforcement authority, we will be able to stamp them out.”

Cllr Steve Pearce, Bristol City Council cabinet member with responsibility for regulatory services, says: “We are delighted to be hosting this new function and playing our part in delivering a solution that combines both regulatory functions into a joint team that will provide a single coherent regulatory voice and help secure regulatory compliance for consumers.

April 18, 2019

One comment

  1. Has anyone informed the Housing Minister that it’s not just unfair fees that have been banned, it’s a complete ban on all fees to the tenant including those that would be fair for a tenant or guarantor to pay.

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