New code of practice for letting agents comes into force
A new statutory code of practice for letting agents has come into force.
Agents have until October 1 to join a register and face criminal proceedings if they fail to sign up but continue working as a letting agent.
The code also stipulates a minimum level of training for letting agency workers.
If standards are not met, the agents can be struck off the register.
Both landlords and tenants can use the code to challenge poor practice via tribunal if necessary.
Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: "We are committed to ensuring the highest quality private rented sector, which empowers tenants.
"These reforms, and the need for the sector to meet key standards and expectations, are an important step in achieving our ambitions.
"Many letting agents already do a great deal to improve standards and inspire confidence amongst landlords and tenants.
"The introduction of the code means a level playing field for all and ensures clarity on rights, responsibilities and expectations."