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Enforcement of Legislation

After a walk and my morning nap I was reading a recent industry article http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/cash-starved-trading-standards-may-not-rush-to-police-new-letting-agents-law/ that highlighted the lack of resources for the enforcement of some new lettings legislation in England.

After a walk and my morning nap I was reading a recent industry article http://www.propertyindustryeye.com/cash-starved-trading-standards-may-not-rush-to-police-new-letting-agents-law/ that highlighted the lack of resources for the enforcement of some new lettings legislation in England.

Hardly the biggest surprise in the world and the same is as true here in Dundee/Scotland and before anyone mentions it its frankly got little or nothing to do with austerity as its been going on for a very long time.

 

When I was in the canine corps in the Army (bit of a problem with the minimum height but I wore heels that day) there was a saying “an obstacle that isn’t covered by fire isn’t an obstacle”, what that means is that you can put a minefield in place but unless you have someone with a gun/artillery is watching it then the enemy can just dig it up and move through it.

Well in civilian parlance it’s exactly the same with an awful lot of the recent and planned legislation in lettings as much as anywhere else.

Take a non lettings example the ban on using a mobile phone whilst driving, something which I whole heartedly support, its hard enough for me to reach the peddles anyway with out an added distraction. But the point is we already had offences that covered this (driving without due care and dangerous driving) did we need a specific piece of legislation, but much more importantly the legislation is ignored every day as anyone that uses the roads can attest…. Why, because the chances of getting caught e.g. enforcement is virtually nil.

Well it’s the same with lettings legislation, first we had landlord registration and we were told (often by our so called professional bodies who should know better) that it would help remove the ‘dodgy’ agents/landlords from the market, drive up standard, increase our share of the market etc.

 

Well as we all know it hasn’t, how many agents/landlords have been removed from the register or refused registration in the first place, very few to zero and believe me in private conversations with staff from various councils they know exactly who they would like to see removed, but it goes in the too difficult bin.

I fear it’s the same with most of the other legislation, hands up all those agents who have ever had the relevant enforcement authority visit there office and ask to see a gas safety certificate, EPC etc (unless there has been a specific complaint)? Oh look there’s one at the back….. No sorry he is just scratching his ear, I new we shouldn’t have let the spaniels in. Belvoir Lettings are audited annually and those are some of the kinds of things that get checked.

My problem is that the next raft of legislation will be exactly the same, the pressure groups, politicians and assorted talking heads will do their thing (some of which is important and could really be an improvement for the private rented housing sector in Scotland), they will then go away busily patting themselves on the back to the point of dislocating their shoulders.

But the level of enforcement/inspection for whatever they propose will be zero to poor, which means that just like so much of the previous legislation that had promise it will be like peeing in a wet suit, it gives you a short-lived warm sensation but nobody else notices.

So as usual the good landlords and agents will conform to the law (and incur the costs as usual), but nothing and I do mean nothing, will be done to chase down the majority of those that have been ignoring or breaking the rules for years. The ones that actually bring our industry into disrepute, put peoples well being, even lives at risk etc. But targeting them would be too much like hard work for the various pressure groups and talking heads. Cynical much?  Love Miss Toots

 

 

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