Are you prepared for new agent regulation?

Did you know that as an estate or letting agent you may be subject to statutory regulation in 2021 and beyond? Are you planning ahead for this and do you know what might be involved in the process?

In 2019, the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group published a report relating to the regulation of property agents.

The key recommendations of the report were to implement statutory regulation for property agents, make it a criminal offence to practice without a licence, introduce minimum levels of qualification and continuous professional development, and develop an overarching industry code for property agents

Through regulation, ethical and professional standards of practice will be introduced for consumer relationships and management of businesses and staff. This tackles issues such as diversity, transparency, training, conflicts of interest, client money handling, complaints handling, communication, health and safety and data protection.

It is proposed that regulation will apply to all residential letting and estate agents, irrespective of how they operate (e.g., online, hybrid or high street) and size of business (e.g., independent, local or multi-national branches). This means that agents need to prepare in advance for the proposed regulatory requirements through upskilling their staff teams and senior management.

One qualification which is likely to be of interest to residential agents seeking to enhance their professional standing is AssocRICS. This is a vocational qualification based on practical experience. It is assessed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), who are the governing body for Chartered Surveyors.

Although the exact qualifications accepted under the proposed regulation have not yet been confirmed, AssocRICS membership is well-established within the surveying profession and demonstrates that agents are regulated, qualified and trusted.

There are four key routes to AssocRICS membership:

  • 4 years’ work experience;
  • Approved HND, HNC, NVQ3, BTEC or foundation degree + 2 years’ work experience;
  • Relevant undergraduate degree + 1 years’ work experience;
  • Direct entry via membership of an approved professional body, e.g., Member of the Institute of Residential Property Management (MIRPM).

Upon satisfying one of the above routes, agents will then need to pass the AssocRICS written assessment and online ethics module and test. In the case of direct entry, agents only need to pass the online ethics module and test.

Jen Lemen is co-founder of Property Elite, training and support provider for RICS qualifications. 

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5 Comments

  1. AlwaysAnAgent

    A good advertorial for one of RICS’ training providers which is up there with the best in the industry.

    Two important points: firstly, there is no firm date for mandatory training for agents an it could be as far as five years away. Secondly, no one know what the entry point for qualifications will be.

    RoPA might be pushed into the long grass for a while which is a missed opportunity.

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  2. Typhoon

    Whilst I am all for keeping standards high, the Government I’ve the impression that the whole of the industry are rogues. they need to understand there are thousands of excellent agents in the country who are scrupulously honest and brilliant at what they do.

    There are  enough rules and codes of practice under which the industry is commanded to operate to sink a battleship.

    We don’t need more.

    What we do need however, is  a bigger resource to monitor that the laws and codes of conduct that  already exist are adhered to.(Estate Agents Act, CPR2008, Arla Code of Practice Property, Property Ombudsman’s Code of Practice, Anti Money Laundering Laws, DDPR to name few,)

    Licensing will not stop rogue traders. It hasn’t in other professions (there are still rogue accounts, lawyers, doctors etc)  unless it is backed up with effective monitoring.

    And whatever ultimately arrives it must be designed to educate and motivate, and not be a vehicle to penalise.

    The licensing scheme must in part be constructed with significant input from within the industry and not be left to the Government to create. If it is all civil servant driven, it will be penal not educational. Where exactly is Propertymark in this programme?

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  3. WiltsAgent

    Given we have RICS to thank for the EWS1 debacle I wouldn’t trust them to arrange a celebration in a brewery let alone any form of regulation.

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  4. landadvice28

    I am surprised and disappointed that, given that the legislation that will create ROPA has not been created yet, and ROPA staff have not been appointed yet, and until they are a syllabus cannot be created, that some organisations are trying to suggest their services will put people ahead of the game.

    ALL training providers currently are capable of providing 80% of what will be needed – possibly more.

    It is just that the more truthful of us stay silent and do not make claims to suggest  something that cannot as yet be a reality.

     

    Once we know the syllabus, we will all trot of to OFQUAL and get our courses approved and THEN AND ONLY THEN CAN WE CLAIM TO BE ABLE TO SUPPLY WHAT IS NEEDED

     

    Dave Absalom

    LANDLORD ADVICE LINE

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  5. Woodentop

    Once announced it will take several years to implement. They still haven’t finished the talking stage.. let alone a draft.

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