Propertymark CEO calls for ‘mandatory regulation of property agents’

Propertymark has once again expressed its wish to see the government regulate all lettings and estate agents following the release of a new report by Shelter about the number of tenants who have had bad experiences in the private rented sector.

The research shows that over two-fifths of private renters surveyed have been the victim of illegal behaviour from a landlord or letting agent.

Propertymark has long urged the government to press ahead with the recommendations of Lord Best and the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group.

Nathan Emerson is CEO of estate and letting agent body Propertymark.
Nathan Emerson

Propertymark believes that regulation would professionalise the sector by putting in place a code of practice, licensing and qualifications.

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, commented: “Shelter’s figures are disheartening as our members do and have worked tirelessly, particularly throughout the pandemic, to maintain tenancies and ensure that properties are safe and meet a high standard even whilst under restricted working conditions.

“As in any industry there are a minority who operate to poor standards, but to stamp out bad practice we have long called for the full and mandatory regulation of property agents – an issue which is yet to be tackled by the UK government or indeed publicly supported by Shelter themselves.

“Their evidence clearly supports the need for regulation, and we would encourage Shelter to formally back the recommendations published in July 2019.”


Almost half of renters ‘don’t feel safe or secure’ because of agents or landlords


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  1. Hillofwad71

      Yet The Property Franchise Group a listed company  subsidiary Ewemove currently recruits on the basis that no qualifications are necessary before starting despite an increasing environment of compliance ?
    10th September Ewemove Facebook
    “Whether you are an experienced agent or new to estate agency, we have all of the systems, tools and training you will need to be a roaring ️‍ success.”
      A short training programme , some webinars a Read through the book ” 39 steps  to avoid a Housing nightmare “and way to go and they wonder why they have so many failures ?.
    Further training on the hoof.
      In fact qualifications feature pretty low down the list of the Head Shepherd’s list as important . In fact they don’t appear at all as important when recently interviewed. He views experienced agents as”listers” ,failing to recognise all the other qualities.
    in June the Head Shepherd had this to say when challenged on the recrutment of the new franchisee  for Cheam and Sutton
     Dean Du Plessis , a former forestry worker recently arrived from South Africa who told friends on LinkedIn that he is ‘starting again from scratch’ in the UK.
    “In our opinion and experience, what makes a successful estate agent is the ability to balance a few key skills in equal measure,” says Head Shepherd
    “Namely, they are: Customer Focus – Sales Capability – Emotional stability – Business Management experience. “WE HAVE SEEN VERY EXPERIENCED ESTATE AGENTS “LISTERS”’ FOR WANT OF A BETTER WORD  – fail at running their own agency as they only have one skill, specifically sales. 
    And they fall short elsewhere as the whole gambit of skills required to be successful is missing.”  
    Good luck to Dean and his partner. Kicked off on the 24th June .Early days of course but have just the 1 instruction.
    Let’s hope they weren’t expecting to emulate  Ewemove Brixton (Herne Hill) .David Wiffen  an experienced qualified agent  who features highly in Ewemove’s current recruitment campaign.
    16 years at The Andrews Group following a 10 year stint at Walkers Estate Agents
    “I listed 16 properties in South London within the first  3 months of launching with a potential fee income of £72,831 !
    Albeit this was back  in 2016 .Today,many experienced agents finding it diffcult to source new stock
    Ewemove says ‘many of its franchisees’ come to EweMove with no estate agency experience other than buying and selling their own property.  
    Recent recruit Ewemove South Shore (Blackpool) Husband & wife  tick that box  who started trading on the 11th May  have yet to gain a single  instruction !
      They feature on Youtube in a recent interview  with the Head Shepherd . The reason why they took  up a Ewemove franchsie as  they state in the interview is  they were looking at moving house and .weren’t impressed by the experience with estate agent and thought they could do better !
    New Franchise Launch Insight Series – Episode 11.July 28th.Youtube
    Time will tell.    

    1. James Christchurch

      Change the ****** record HillofWad about Ewemove.
      No one needs to be qualified to be an agent- yet you bring up your one man band hate campaign against Ewemove
      this article / thought piece has nothing to do with Ewemove 
      mr Emerson is saying all of us should be qualified or are your saying only those agents with cartoon sheep on their board should be qualified?
      pS I think the sheep look daft myself – but each to his own

      1. AlwaysAnAgent

        As least you have stopped asking dumb questions akin to a 5 year old. You have shown your true colours. I really did think you were either on day release, or you were a 5 year old with daddy’s phone.
        HoW is free to post his opinions. If you don’t like them, don’t read them. Dimwit.

        1. James Christchurch

          HoW is of course free to post his opinions, as am I – yet I find his segways from any topic to Ewemove is sublime.  Anyway, my daddy is now taking my phone off me because its its been pinging and it annoys him…. and to correct you AlwayaanAgent – I am 5 and 3/4’s

      2. Hillofwad71

        “No one needs to be qualified to be an agent- ”
        Exactly that’s the changes being supported by Propertymark .
          TPFG are a major estate agents group where many franchisees  are Propertymark members
        This is what Emerson says
        “Many franchise operations have successfully introduced new practitioners to the industry, and the majority are proactive in encouraging the undertaking of professional qualifications, although this is sadly not mandatory or regulated.
        This is the difference  between them
        Well  Certainly dont ” hate ” Ewemove their marketing is fresh ,innovative and have attracted some very successful franchisees as the H1 results reveal  today .
        Many of the franchisees  have enjoyed a very profitable H1 so a very well done to them  but spare a thought to those who have packed in  who far from selling their business for £500k as led to believe  leave with a pile of debts
          Or  do you prefer to keep that news firmly buried amongst the success stories?
        The current recruitment campaign doesnt spell out very clearly the  risks.  Especially to those with no previous experience  There has been no let up on that front .In fact the noise has intensified .
            As every agent knows anyone starting this year is faced with a market where new instructions are hard won
        My concern is that many of the new recruits  attracted in from the glowing reports on Ewemove Facebook  are going to add to the number of failures
        Some have started well of course,all credit to them .
        Early days of course but already concerns for others .
        Here are some of the fresh recruits started this  year
        Quedgley 1
        Rugby 3
        Droitwich 1 letting instruction
        Gillingham 0 
        South Shore 0
        Barrow 3
        Gosforth 0
        Urmston 0
        Cheam & Sutton 1
        Wickford 0    

        1. James Christchurch

          HillOfWad – you do make some valid and interesting points in this follow up comment

  2. Eyereaderturnedposter12

    “Their evidence clearly supports the need for regulation, and we would encourage Shelter to formally back the recommendations published in July 2019.”

    Evidence, what “evidence”? A survey (whose sample group isn’t clear, and in which “renters said…” isn’t “evidence”.

    Are the renters surveyed qualified to make assessment on the basis of law (I suspect not)? Therefore asking those with little understanding of the legalities surrounding operating in the PRS, seems a little like asking me whether the farmer down the road, is operating his milk extraction equipment correctly and suggesting that farmers sit exams (instead of extracting milk), so we feel better receiving the same milk, in the knowledge that the farmer has paid for a piece of paper, saying that he extracts milk correctly.

    Statements from Shelter suggesting they’ve been told something on the one hand, miraculously turns into categorical fact, in the following statement.

    Propertymark jumping on the Shelter bandwagon, in an apparent bid to support its intended “qualifications” cash grab…

    Propertymark no longer supports its members, its supports its own growth curve.

  3. AlwaysAnAgent

    PropertyMark are doing the right thing by shouting for ROPA but are they shouting loud enough?

    Let’s hope they turn up the volume as the framework and recommendations have already been written and set out in the ROPA report.

  4. Hillofwad71

    The story of Josh Parrott justrevealed who  is building up a portfolio  and works for Philip James  Kennedy  in Manchester  who are members of Propertymark

    “Working at an estate agent is a great job for young people and it doesn’t require any qualifications,” he told the Birmingham Mail, revealing that he earns £30,000 a year as an estate agent.




  5. ComplianceGuy

    The thing is, there are already things in place for agents to follow.

    Legislation about marketing properties (e.g. CPUTRs, Town & Planning)

    Legislation about money laundering (e.g. MLRs, Criminal Finance Act)

    Codes of Practice (e.g. TPOS/redress schemes)


    All of these are designed to ensure an agent does the job right and all of them have consequences. If you’re a small operation, then a hefty fine from breaching any of the above, is going to impact you. If you’re a large corporate, then a hefty fine (or repeated fines) from breaching any of the above, is going to make you reconsider any staff member(s) causing the fines.

    So in terms what agents must do; it’s already there in legislation and codes of practice.

    Re: qualifications – they are not necessary. I did the Propertymark Level 3 Award and it wasn’t needed. The things you learn are “nice” but not essential. As a valuer, or a neg, or even as a manager, do you need to know the minimum degree angle of a roof? Do you need to know how a roof is structured? No. There was so much technical information more appropriate for surveyors rather than estate agents.

    1. Burn red tape

      Well said.

      Estate Agents voting for regulation are like Trukeys voting for Christmas.

      Just wait for the endless rules and regulations requiring all day training seminars costing money as well as lost opportunioties in the office. Perfect for increasing the income of professional bodies.

      In thier members interest should be voting against regulation.

      Beware what you wish for – for every serviceman there are one and a half cicil servants managing them

      Do we want this in agency?


  6. Hillofwad71

    “As a valuer, or a neg, or even as a manager, do you need to know the minimum degree angle of a roof? Do you need to know how a roof is structured? No”

    Possibly not but pretty useful if you are able to  identify  ,knotweed,wall tie failure dry and wet rot and subsidence which more than  likely  will sabotage a sale

  7. MrManyUnits

    In the letting field, who would regulate the local council as in many places they operate the most substandard of properties !

  8. smile please

    Man who sells qualifications thinks industry should all carry his qualifications, Shock!

  9. haveathink

    Propertymark jumping on a bandwagon.  They should get their own house in order first before having the temerity

    to comment on any matter to do with the industry.

  10. forwardthinker

    The proper regulation of agents has been hovering around for years. 22 years is my experience and hitherto Propertymark has been a toothless organisation. Regulation is desperately needed. We have inexperienced individuals dealing with most people’s biggest asset they will ever own. They lack the knowledge necessary to act as a proper professional in the industry. Usually these people just pass through anyway, sold the fantasy that all estate agents are rich. When they realise what’s actually involved, the hard work, bosses pushing aggressively they leave.

    Shameful those on here mocking qualifications and the need to regulate. Absolutely barmy the lack of regulation and that literally anyone can open a business.

    For years all the malpractice that goes on the reputation our business has is because of a minority. It’s time to clean it up and regulation is a big step towards doiong that.

    1. letstalk

      @forwardthinker I couldn’t have said it better myself. Anyone who is a good, experienced, agent should be able to sail through those NVQ’s without batting an eyelid, lets be honest. I would welcome regulation of the industry to sort the wheat from the chaff at the outset so we all don’t keep getting tarred with this brush to be honest and stop allowing people with no understaning of the skill needed to do this to just open businesses, but, once again, thats pointless if there is no enforecement.
      We must have the skills and experience in the right places to take care of these assets for people. I note the comment above about not needing to know roof angles, no, you don’t, but I have solved many a maintenance issue with my maintenance team quickly and easily by having the skills and experience to understand basic heating, plumbing, electrics, building structure, etc. which allows me to knowledgeably discuss issues and resolution options with them to get the best outcome for both our clients and their tenants.
      However, this survey was also about landlords and I think there lies an even greater issue and greater call for regulation. There are some good, however, in my vast experience of meeting self managing landlords some are simply naïve, some are renting out property when they can ill afford to and blame the cost of regulation and some are just down right working the system. Therein lies a bigger issue as none of that should be an excuse, either within our industry or in relation to self managing landlords. Something here needs a targeted approach.

    2. Eyereaderturnedposter12


      I am not sure anyone here is ”mocking qualifications”…what I suspect most find laughable is that Propertymark have taken a ‘survey’ asking Tenants their thoughts/opinions (for opinions are what they are, in lieu of any evidence to suggest that any of the respondents have the slightest notion of property law/regulation, or have a motivation to respond truthfully or accurately), and have formed a seemingly categorical stance that 20% OF THOSE SURVEYED have been the ”victims” of some form of illegality at the hands of Landlords or agents. The important nuance to recognise is ”of those surveyed” , as we have absolutely no idea who was surveyed, how they were contacted and what their individual motivations may be. Being a Shelter ‘survey’ it is really rather troublesome to take it seriously or at face-value, as Shelter is a hard-line left-wing funded and staffed organisation that (as far as I can tell) have ZERO understanding of the dynamics of the housing sector, and promote themselves as ‘do-gooders’…sadly and possibly, doing far more damage than good, in the round.

      You should be under no illusion that the respondents will be, for want of better terms…either inherently anti-landlord and/or generally have an ‘axe to grind’ against anyone involved in the PRS…otherwise, I suspect Shelter as an organisation, would be unknown to them (least of all taking the time to respond to some survey…for all we know, PM could have commission this nonsense).

      It is easily possible to produce a ‘survey’ that demonstrate almost anything…you simply have to find the right ‘crowd’, pose questions in a certain form

      Most laughable of all, is that PM is attempting to pass this ”survey” off as ”research” or ”evidence”. It represents neither, and frankly for PM to commit such drivel to a press-release, demonstrates a self-serving ethos and a fundamental lack of understanding of evidence/fact/reality based action.


  11. The Way Ahead

    Regulation and Licensing, great idea. Lets go to the next level. Lets include also being able to do the conveyancing on property sales, like in America and Australia. We as agents then can justifiably increase our charges and it would do away with lazy and inept conveyancers and solicitors who don’t care about their clients and put our cashflows and income in jeopardy. However just to balance things out conveyancers and solicitors could always regulate and license to become an Estate Agent.

  12. JamesH79

    Where to start I wonder…

    I could start with the obvious point that qualifications don’t stop someone acting illegally… enforcement does.

    Or I could point out that if landlords and agents have been acting “illegally”, then it stands to reason that the laws or “regulations” as they’re also known, are already in place to protect tenants… if only they were enforced.

    I could start by observing that it doesn’t take long for senior figures at Propertymark (permanent or otherwise) to work out which side their bread is buttered… it’s the side that compels every agent in the land to spend lots of money with them for meaningless qualifications.

    I could start, as I often do when talking about Propertymark, by asking who do they actually represent? I was under the impression they were a trade or industry body, not a consumer group. Unfortunately of late it appears the consumer group is winning the internal battle given their often anti agent rhetoric. Perhaps it’s time their members started to look a little more carefully at how Propertymark spend their money.

    I could start a number of different ways, but it wouldn’t matter, the conclusion is unavoidable.

    Propertymark has become an anti agent, hostile lobbying group, infected at the top with a small number of very hard to remove individuals with significant vested interests, determined to sure up their pension fund by foisting unnecessary and burdensome red tape (which won’t solve any of the apparent issues) on the very industry they’re supposed to protect.

  13. jeremy1960

    Did they write another letter?

  14. jan - byers

    The bottom line is EA is a low skilled job.

    The so called qualifications by Pm are worthless.  Multiple choice questions a fish could answer. eg where are the rafters in a  house! DUH

    The businesses need regulation to avoid thieves and scammers not qualifications

    1. forwardthinker


      1. AgencyInsider

        The bottom line is EA is a low skilled job. Agreed – any fool can do it. Badly.

        To do it well and to do it consistently and to make a lasting and successful career in estate agency takes more skill than you can possibly imagine, jan-byers.

        And if you think regulation is the way to stop thieves and scammers you demonstrate that you really do know the thin end of absolutely nothing about the estate agency business.

    2. Woodentop

      Regulation is and has always been there. It is enforcement of rougues that is lacking.
      ‘Low skilled job’. That is half the problem of some mindsets, it isn’t. Take a look at all the regulations and codes of practices. The issue is many do not bother to read them and act upon them.
      Lettings is very much a skilled job, if done right.

  15. Woodentop


    “As in any industry there are a minority who operate to poor standards, but to stamp out bad practice we have long called for the full and mandatory regulation of property agents – an issue which is yet to be tackled by the UK government or indeed publicly supported by Shelter themselves.


    Could just be read as …….


    “As in any industry there are tenants who operate to poor standards, but to stamp out bad practice we have long called for the full and mandatory regulation of tenants – an issue which is yet to be tackled by the UK government or indeed publicly supported by Shelter themselves”.

  16. Woodentop

    There is and has been more than enough regulation covering rogue practices for decades.  
    Providing qualifications allows the rogues to have credentials that does not stop them from  poor behaviour.   Dishonesty is a mind set.  
    Enforcement has been lacking because the system is not geared up or has the resources, so its seems to always be after the horse has bolted.  
    Training should be freely available and in this age of internet, easy to arrange. So many private landlords do not know the in’s and out’s, particularly on sticky issues and many of them do not realise it. Education would certainly help and a definite for so called letting agents and boy oh boy there are some awful ones but thankfully a minority.  
    All should be licenced. Misbehave and licence could be withdrawn and disqualified (similar points system to driving licence). Works very effectively in many other industries and creates a form of self regulation. Trouble with licensing, bureaucrat’s make it complicated. No need for exams, just a register with a fee to cover that overhead. The onus is on the individual to obtain knowledge and pays the penalty for negligence.

  17. scruffy

    Sadly, the headline to this topic, an appeal for licensing or professional qualification has been as regular a feature in our industry blogs/chatrooms etc.  as discussions about Rightmove price rises, the justification for referral fees and much else. A lot of hot air is expressed in this forum, as in others, yet as an industry in which I have now had over 40 years experience, little of consequence has been achieved to ensure we have a qualification and reputation to be proud of.

    Of course we can blame others, including those who take a leadership role in various trade bodies. But ultimately while turkeys won’t vote for Christmas, it shall have to come from Government to impose legislation upon us. If we want to influence the manner in which such legislation is drafted, we should play an active role in supporting those at Propertymark and RICS to ensure they represent us properly in such discussions.

    For my part…..I have a dream

    I dream that estate agents will be regarded in the same way as other professionals, with a duty of care to their clients as strong as a doctor’s. Where acting in the client’s best interest at all times is as strong as the Hippocratic Oath. Where referral fees are either banned outright or it becomes a criminal offence not to declare such fees unequivocally to potential clients and purchasers from the outset. Where clients invariably choose an agent by reputation rather than by fee level (slightly ambitious !). Where Rightmove is fined £millions for exploitation of a vulnerable, defenceless industry without the means or wit to defend itself and be compelled to reduce its profit margin to 20%. Where housebuilders are compelled to use local agents for their plot sales.

    Clearly, waking up from this dream each morning is depressing. I can but dream

  18. WiltsAgent

    Man selling “Qualifications” demands more “Qualifications”. Perhaps the RICS could provide them….then again perhaps not.

  19. Scottish_Mist42

    Being based in Scotland where letting agent registration has been in place for 3 years I believe it has been a positive step and weeded out some of the cowboys who were operating here.

    Personally find it baffling that there appears to be resistance to this in England & Wales.   Good agents don’t need to fear this, only the bad ones.

    1. JamesH79

      Have you read the ROPA proposals?


    2. Woodentop

      Update Wales has similar licence since 2016.

  20. Stuartjm

    I am interested to know how many people shelter have actually housed.

    I have known agents hounded by them for basically doing their job and protecting their clients.

    Property Mark are jumping on the woke bandwagon.

    No wonder they are now universally dismissed as a useless necessity.


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