Agents, consumers and property industry groups are being asked for feedback on a future code of practice for the sector.
A consultation has been launched to get feedback on the Code of Practice for Residential Property Agents that will form the basis of future regulations.
The consultation, which opens today (Monday July 20), is based on the recommendations made by Lord Best in his Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) report of last year, and with the intention of being used by the future regulator to both authorise and oversee agents.
The overarching code is proposed to have two sections, one dealing with consumers and one for managing businesses and staff.
It addresses issues such as encouraging and respecting diversity, treating consumers fairly, agent training and development, conflicts of interests, complaints handling, handling client money and data protection.
It also sets standards for transparency of communication and reporting property safety issues.
The rules will apply to agents both individually and as a business and the code also confirms that those working in the sector will require appropriate qualifications.
It is intended for the overarching code to apply to all estate agents across the UK, lettings and managing agents in England and all others carrying out residential property agency work, whether traditional high street, online or hybrid, even if it is not their largest or traditional core function.
However, self-managing landlords and Airbnb-style listings are not mentioned in the code.
Sitting underneath this main code and principles, will be sector codes covering specific agent services such as leasehold and block management, which will be developed later year.
Baroness Hayter, chair of the Code of Practice Steering Group, said: “The new code of practice will look to set standards at a higher level than currently legally set. The ambition of the code is that it will become a requirement for obtaining a licence to practice in the future, which will increase trust across the sector.
“Input from consumers, stakeholders, interest groups and the industry is paramount to ensuring that the code of practice is balanced, fit for purpose and meets the requirements of a future regulator.”
The consultation will remain open for two months, closing on September 4.
It can be read and responded to at: https://consultations.intstandards.org/consult.ti/ropa/consultationHome