And Sir Peter Bottomley is urging the Government – in the form of officials at the Department of Communities and Local Government – from blocking the measure at the last minute.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill is now heading back to the Commons next Tuesday (April 16) with the following:
“33. Lords Amendment 40 would extend the definition of “estate agency work” in the Estate Agents Act 1979 which would mean that the provisions of that Act would apply to persons carrying out the activities described in the revised definition, as well as to the services that estate agents provide in relation to the disposal or acquisition of land. Those activities described in the amendment are: acting on clients’ instructions in relation to the letting of an interest in land, managing lettings and block management arrangements (such as in the residential leasehold sector) and any management activities undertaken by any person in the course of a business in connection with land or interests in land.”
It is widely thought our old friends at the DCLG will step forward an amendment seeking to exclude managing agents.
Officials there have long track records of believing that there simply is not an endemic problem with the current regulation of leasehold and – in spite of the overwhelming evidence – no widespread abuses.
Sir Peter writes to Housing Minister Mark Prisk and Chief Whip Sir George Young:
“Could I, could we, please be advised urgently whether the department and government expect to accept this Lords amendment or whether there will wrongly be an attempt to exclude managing agents?
“Managing agents who act properly have nothing to fear and nothing to lose. Leaseholders will go on suffering otherwise.”
Bottomley is echoing calls for Prisk to back the amendment from Which?; The Association of Residential Letting Agents; The Property Ombudsman; RICS; Shelter; and the Residential Landlords Association.
All are calling for “greater consumer protection “in the letting and managing agent markets” through a “simpler more joined up regulatory approach than that provided by the myriad of local accreditation schemes”.