Call for better protection for tenants in private rental sector

Demand in the rental sector has rocketed as people have been unable to buy their own home, either because they cannot raise the deposit needed or meet lenders' toughened borrowing criteria in the difficult economy, which has pushed up the cost of renting.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has warned that it is currently possible for people to set up a lettings agency without appropriate qualifications, knowledge or understanding of the rental process and it is not compulsory for them to conform to codes of conduct.

Several calls have been made for better protections for people living in the private rental sector in recent months, with Shelter reporting in September that almost a quarter of people feel they have been "ripped off" at some point by letting agents' charges.

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Call to clamp down on agents

A clampdown on the lettings sector is needed to stop rogue agents turning it into "the property industry's Wild West", the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has warned.