Propertymark calls on UK government to get on with agent regulation

Propertymark’s long-held position is that without minimum entry requirements to practice, consumers are potentially dealing with someone who does not understand the technicalities involved in buying, selling, and renting property or understand how to analyse the level of risk to their business.

Consequently, it comes as little surprise that the professional body is once again calling on the government to ensure agents are suitably qualified and meet minimum competency standards as the organisation views this as an essential factor in driving up standards of service for consumers and eliminating bad practices in the sector.

Propertymark believes that now is the UK government’s best opportunity to enact the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) 2019 by creating qualifications for lettings agents in England.

Henry Griffith, policy and campaigns officer at Propertymark, said: “If Mr Gove [housing secretary] is serious about improving standards throughout the housing sector in general, then he must ensure that private tenants receive the same protections that social tenants do by enacting the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group’s recommendations from 2019. This will ensure that standards are raised throughout the housing market and ensure that anyone who is dealing with the complexities of housing legislation is appropriately qualified to do so.”

Propertymark also said it wants to see ‘parity’ between the social and private rented sectors regarding qualification requirements to work in either sector.

In February 2023, the UK government announced that social housing managers must acquire professional qualifications under fresh guidance to safeguard residents and boost standards in the sector. Specifics behind this were laid out via a public consultation that closed in April 2024.

This announcement is in response to tragedies like the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 and the death of Awaab Ishak in 2020, which have led Michael Gove to consider using his powers under section 197 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 to boost standards in social housing.

The professional body responded to a consultation this month to seek opinions on implementing new qualifications and standards for senior staff and a new Competence and Conduct Standard for all staff which will consist of expectations to acquire skills and knowledge in order to meet fresh standards.

However, due to the fact that there is no overall statutory regulation of private sector letting or managing agents in England or estate agents throughout the UK, Propertymark points out that anybody can become an estate or letting agent without a professional qualification or any knowledge of how the housing sector in general operates, and they face limited consequences for providing a terrible service.

Therefore, Propertymark argues that, considering Gove values the benefits of qualifications and the desire for efficient standards in the social housing sector, Gove’s proposals for the social sector should be extended to the private rented sector as well. This would ensure that all staff providing housing services to tenants will benefit from extra training and qualification requirements via a phased approach that would ensure they are working towards higher standards.

Propertymark supports the recommendations made by Lord Best’s Regulation of Property Agents Working Group in 2019, such as all property agents should be licensed and adhere to a Code of Practice, and that they should hold at least a Level 3 qualification. The professional body’s views on this issue were communicated by Timothy Douglas, Propertymark’s Head of Policy and Campaigns, on 5 March 2024 during a House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee meeting.

Those who work in lettings, sales, commercial, auctioneering, inventory and tenancy deposit can gain qualifications through Propertymark’s independent and awarding organisation called Propertymark Qualifications. This body is recognised by the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual), Qualifications Wales and the Council for Curriculum, Assessment and Examinations (CCEA Regulation). They also provide credit and level rated qualifications in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.

This position is backed up by a review of the introduction of qualification requirements in Scotland, which can be read here. Compulsory qualification requirements for lettings agents in Scotland has led to substantial improvements in professional standards throughout the sector, the professional body urged Gove to learn from Scotland’s experience when implementing qualifications for England’s social housing sector.



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  1. BillyTheFish

    Big news – business lobbies govt for a change in legislation which would result in significant profit for said business.
    Propertymark actually has ‘lobbying’ as a benefit of membership, I think that’s a bit too general as it includes the above

  2. jeremy1960

    Oh dear, property mark has included all those training fees in their report for shareholders and now they are worried about their bonuses if government doesn’t give them the gig!
    Nothing to do with concern for their members…..

  3. Robert_May

    “However, due to the fact that there is no overall statutory regulation of private sector letting or managing agents in England or estate agents throughout the UK, Propertymark points out that anybody can become an estate or letting agent without a professional qualification or any knowledge of how the housing sector in general operates, and they face limited consequences for providing a terrible service.”

    I would like to point out that some of the very worse cases of client cash accounting, fraud, misuse and misappropriation of client funds I came across were from RICS, Law Society and ARLA members.

    The case law that define contract law (agency) is surely the overall statutory regulation that protects principals from bad agents, additional regulation won’t, to my understanding, top trump those precedents.

    1. Ding Dong

      Agree on that, I think you can find most of the agents who pushed the boat out on tenant fees were ARLA regulated.

  4. Hit Man

    Another disgraceful display from an association that suppose to represent their members, maybe Agents should leave PropertyMark to their own devices there are many other associations that care for their members and offer better associated low cost products and do a hell of a lot more.

  5. Hit Man

    This is another disappointing display from an association supposed to represent its members. Perhaps agents should consider leaving PropertyMark to their own devices. There are many other associations that prioritize member care, offer superior low-cost products, and provide more comprehensive support. It’s wise to take action now before they evolve into another cash cow like Rightmove.

  6. Scottish_Mist42

    As a Scottish Agent I believe regulation of letting agents in Scotland has been a good thing. The only people who moaned about it up here were those who weren’t good enough to pass the exams!

    1. Hit Man

      The disparity lies in the cost and impact of industry regulation compared to passing exams. Regulation imposes a significant financial burden on agents, whereas passing exams is accessible to anyone. What qualities determine someone’s ability to pass exams? Whom specifically are you referring to as those who weren’t capable of passing exams?

      1. Scottish_Mist42

        The cowboys. The Scottish Government are the generally imbeciles but the Letting Agent Code of Practice that introduced minimum standards was a positive step. It weeded out those who purported to be letting agents, but in reality were what I describe as Google agents. Don’t get me wrong we’ve had to invest (not spend) quite a bit on our team to support them through study, exams and subsequent CPD but the positives have very much outweighed the negatives.

        As I say, I can only base it on my experience here.

        1. Hit Man

          In England, all agents are required to hold CMP, be members of a redress scheme, and a tenancy deposit scheme, among other requirements, to qualify for membership. This alone should help filter out untrustworthy agents or “cowboys,” as you put it. Personally, I don’t think exams make someone better or more experienced; they just create another unnecessary business that drains money from agents.

    2. singingagent

      Same thing here in Wales. We have been licenced for over 6 years. This is run by Rent Smart Wales, but their register of Licenced Agents only lists the company owner, so jo public does not know if they are dealing with a suitably qualified and knowledgeable person. All my staff have passed their tests, but this is not the case for corporates who hide behind the company banner, sometimes giving out terrible advice. In Wales a landlord cannot self manage without doing training and paying for a licence. The Renting Homes (Wales) Act came into force on 1/12/2022, but it is such a complex piece of law that lay people with just a couple of properties don’t understand the processes. In the past couple of weeks I have had two Landlords who wanted to sell a rented property, but they hadn’t issued the new agreement before 31/5/2023, so the tenant could claim 2 months rent (like passing Go at Monopoly) and the Landlord will have to issue a new agreement, so vacant possession could not be obtained for over a year.
      Since the new RHWA law came into force some self managing landlords have sold up their rentals, but we have gained more fully managed clients.
      If Michael Gove wants a level playing field for the private rental sector in England he needs to ensure that all landlords and agents are covered by the same constraints.

  7. WiltsAgent

    Never a week goes by without Propertymark calling for Agent Regulation. They are a commercial company acting in their own interests so they can collect ever more fees. What happened to acting in your members interests?.

    1. Hit Man

      Maybe agents shout protest by withdrawing their memberships.

      1. Robert_May

        Ric has given notice he’s not renewing next year. He’s explained their reluctance to deal with member agents flouting CPR/BPR regulations while he is doing all he can to comply is one of the main reasons he’s giving up membership

        1. Hit Man

          I’m curious about what other agents think of PropertyMark’s actions in lobbying for legislation without consulting its members, its pretty similar to how Shelter is lobbying to ban section 21 and implement rent controls.

          1. singingagent

            If they bring in the same rules and restrictions for private landlords, you will convert a lot of your “let only” landlords into “fully managed” clients, which will add a lot to your ongoing income.

      2. Chilli sauce my friend

        After many years of membership, I didn’t renew this year – can’t see the value they supposedly give


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