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A new Trading Standards force to be formed to tackle rogue letting and sales agents across England and Wales.
After years of complaints that the enforcement of rogue lettings and sales agents is too weak, a new Trading Standards combined force will be created based in Cardiff and Bristol.
Both property lettings and sales in the private sect will have their own dedicated teams.
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.
The new Trading Standards combined force has been funded by the Ministry of Communities and Local Government and is to be called the National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team (NTSELT).
The force will act as the lead enforcement authority for the purposes of the Estate Agents Act 1979 and the Tenant Fees Act 2019, and also approve and oversee the industry’s redress schemes, ombudsman services and dispute resolution bodies as well as issuing guidance.
Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler MP, said: ‘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.’
She continued: ‘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, said: ‘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.’