Leasehold groups are understood to have snubbed opportunities to respond to a consultation on the development of a new code of conduct for property sector.
The Code of Practice Steering Group, chaired by Baroness Hayter, launched a consultation on the rules in July as part of the implementation of Lord Best’s Regulation of Property Agents (ROPA) recommendations made last year.
RICS and TPO are part of the steering group and help with coordinating meetings as they publish the two principal existing codes in sales and lettings.
Other steering group members include Trading Standards and ARLA and NAEA Propertymark.
However, organisation such as the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership (LKP) and the Federation of Private Residents Associations have expressed concerns that there are no consumer bodies on the steering group and claim the code has been allowed to be pre-determined by the property sector itself.
LKP has said it refused to respond, claiming it was regrettable that it has been a non-Government initiative and warned that self-regulation hasn’t worked for the property sector so far.
A response from LKP to an invitation from RICS to take part said: “The Leasehold Knowledge Partnership will not be participating in this initiative.
“We deprecate that this is a non-Government initiative.
“Instead, the property trade bodies are attempting to present ready-formed codes of practice to government for rubber-stamping.”
Mairead Carrol, RICS associate director for residential standards, told EYE: “The Code of Practice Steering Group developed a draft overarching code of conduct for residential property agents following the ROPA working group.
“The consultation that has followed was open to all parties for input. This was to allow consumers, firms, relevant organisations and other important stakeholders, to share their critical insight.
“Following on from Lord Best’s recommendations, the overarching objective is to underpin standards of professionalism including conduct and competence that a future regulator and the public should expect of residential property agents.
“As with all consultations, everyone’s input is welcomed.
“The overarching code needs to ensure that consumers are clear what standards they should expect from property professionals, and it will enable them to be confident that all residential property agents will be held to account in meeting them.”