Open Letter from Residential Property Industry urges the use of the UPRN across the Sector

Leading residential property organisations have today published an open letter to Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and copied to Thalia Baldwin, Director of the Geospatial Commission, highlighting the potential benefits from a widely adopted Unique Property Reference Number (URPN). The letter also outlines the steps the Government needs to take to make this happen.

The signatories of the letter, which includes leading companies in the sector, believe that the wide market adoption of the UPRN will deliver substantial benefits to UK society, the residential property sector and to Government.

Andrew Bulmer, CEO of IRPM and author of the letter, comments: “The UPRN is like attaching a number plate to a car, instead we attach a unique number (up to 12-digits) to all things related to properties (fittings, fixtures, paperwork, surveys etc), so that each property can be uniquely identified with unparalleled accuracy.

If all the conditions outlined in the letter were to be met, we could proactively work towards the wholesale adoption of the UPRN. Implemented effectively, this could help position the UK as the world’s leading property market”.

David Smith, partner and residential property sector specialist at JMW Solicitors, comments: “UPRNs have the ability to transform the residential property market. We wholeheartedly support this initiative and are happy to be included as a signatory on this open letter.”

  • The letter details the benefits of widespread market adoption of the UPRN to society, the economy and the property sector. These include:
  • Improved building, consumer and market safety
  • More targeted and cost-effective enforcement of legislation
  • Increased protection for tenants and a reduction of rogue landlords
  • The ability to speed up conveyancing and transparency in home buying and selling
  • The opportunity to reduce waste, save time and empower the consumer

The letter also calls for steps by Government and for certain conditions to be met to really enable these benefits:

  • All public sector data sets relating to properties and buildings should include the UPRN and a clear roadmap is needed to get to this point
  • All future Government tenders and policy relating to residential properties and associated data should mandate the use of the UPRN
  • There must be clear agreement about the ethical use of data in the housing market
  • The UPRN must be in a clear and useable format that allows the UPRN to be widely identified, and freely used and shared
  • This must include the tools, the support materials and the explanation needed by the whole sector for adoption, not just the solution providers

Following the findings in the RoPA report, that outlines the need for compliance within the property agents’ sector, Lord Best states that “the UPRN is an excellent concept and could be a game-changer.”

The impact of the universal adoption of the UPRN can be immense, The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agents Team (NTSELAT) explain that, “the widespread use of a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) has the potential to deliver many benefits across the residential property market. Importantly, a UPRN can offer tenants a greater level of protection against rogue landlords and help to reduce consumer fraud when buying or renting a home. The NTS Estate and Letting Agency Team supports the work of The Letting Industry Council in driving the adoption of the URPN across the property sector”.

JMW Solicitors LLP has been ranked number 33 in 2020 The Sunday Times 'Best Companies' to work for listing. The listing is compiled from a survey of company staff across all sectors. JMW was the second law firm within the top 100.

JMW Solicitors is ranked 74 in The Lawyer’s “UK 200: The Top 100” for 2020, moving up nine places. The listing confirms that JMW posted the largest organic growth in the 51-100 tier, increasing revenues from £38.3m in 2019 to £47.6m this year. The London office contributed £5.1m to that growth.

Full list of signatories in alphabetical order:

  • Advice for Renters
  • Alpha Property Insight
  • Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA)
  • Base Property Specialists
  • Bold Legal Group
  • British Property Federation
  • Building Passport
  • Chestertons
  • ClientMoneyProtect
  • Conveyancing Association
  • Countrywide
  • Fexco Property Services
  • FirstPort
  • Fixflo
  • Foxtons
  • HACT
  • Hamilton Fraser insurance products
  • Hamptons
  • HML Group
  • Hunters
  • Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM)
  • JLL
  • JMW Solicitors LLP
  • Kinleigh Limited (KFH)
  • Knight Frank LLP
  • Landlord Action
  • Landmark
  • Landscape Institute
  • Marks out of Tenancy
  • My Property Group
  • MyDeposits
  • NAPIT
  • No Letting Go
  • Northern Housing Consortium
  • National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA)
  • OSCRE International
  • Premier Estates
  • Property Checklists
  • Propertymark
  • Property Redress Scheme (PRS)
  • Real Estate Data Foundation (RED Foundation)
  • Rendall and Rittner
  • Residential Logbook Association (RLBA)
  • Residently
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • Savills (UK) Ltd
  • The Depositary
  • The Property Ombudsman (TPO)
  • The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
  • The Lettings Industry Council (TLIC)
  • Trustmark
  • UK PropTech Association (UK PA)
  • The UK Apartment Association (UKAA)

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