Housing Minister Alok Sharma (pictured, right) was roundly savaged in Parliament yesterday when it fell to him to make the announcement on a ‘fairer property management system’ four hours after it had been announced on his department’s website.
His speech, which detailed the upcoming consultation on reform of the property management sector, said that management agents overcharge by £1.4 billion a year and pointed out that agents in the sector “do not need any qualifications, training or experience to call themselves an agent. They do not need a criminal records check. They do not even have to know what a managing agent does”.
But shadow Housing Minister John Healey (pictured, left) heavily criticised Alok Sharma for “time wasting” with the call for evidence and that the desire to regulate the property management sector was a “feeble effort”.
“It is not even a commitment to act; it is a commitment to ask some questions,” he said.
“Can he confirm that this “call for evidence” today will not delay still further the announcement the Government made a year ago to ban letting agents’ fees?
“When will that legislation be introduced, and when will it come into force? As a result of today’s announcement, can the Minister tell us how much on average each leaseholder and private renter will save, and when—oh, when—will he act on the other protections leaseholders and renters need from this Government?”.
SNP MP Alison Thewliss (pictured, right), who until recently sat on the Communities and Local Government Committee, said the “statement represents just another consultation on a proposal. People out there in the real world want action, because the problems in the housing sector are well known.”