Speculation mounts as agents signalled that a whole new era of regulation lies ahead

Agents and the Government are awaiting the outcome of the working group on the regulation of property agents after its chair Lord Best revealed its report will be delivered to the housing minister on Monday.

Lord Best yesterday revealed his working group will recommend agents should be regulated and would need minimum qualifications in order to trade legally.

He said trade bodies and organisations such as the The Property Ombudsman could feed into the code of conduct but did not give any clues as to who the regulator might be – for example, whether NAEA Propertymark, the RICS, TPO or an entirely new body would take the role.

There was also no indication on whether the rules would just apply in England.

Lord Best said the qualifications would be specific to the type of work an agent does and added there would be no grandfathering, but there is already speculation online as to what this would involve.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: “We have been clear that standards across the property agent sector must be raised, and we look forward to hearing the recommendations of the working group’s report on this important issue.”

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15 Comments

  1. GeorgeOrwell

    A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: “We have been clear that standards across the property agent sector must be raised, and we look forward to hearing the recommendations of the working group’s report on this important issue.”

    A spokesperson for UK taxpayers/voters said: “We have been clear that accountability across the government must be raised, and we look forward to hearing recommendations of how UK taxpayer/voters are properly/professionally served by its current and future government.”

     

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  2. ArthurHouse02

    So will vendors/landlords selling/letting privately also have to have this qualification? If not it makes a mockery of the whole thing.

    This wont raise standards, its just another way of government milking the housing sector for more money, yet not enforcing any of the laws.

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    1. JamesB

      If landlords are regulated good news for agents as many will hand over their properties rather than be qualified

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      1. ArthurHouse02

        Agreed, but do you really think this will happen? This is not about regulating the industry it is about forcing companies and employees to pay yet more monthly or yearly subscriptions for something that in reality doesnt benefit the customer. Does a vendor or landlord now choose an agent based on a qualification or what regulatory bodies they belong to….No! in over 20 years not once, not one single time have i been asked if i have a qualification…because it just isnt important to them.

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        1. Realitycheck97

          Therein the very point.  Consumers don’t interact often enough with the market to know what to ask. There is a presumption that “all agents are regulated in some way, right? Surely?” I’ve made so much money taking business off unregulated firms/unqualified agents, it’s hilarious. Beauty parade time… “You do know *** firm are unregulated, don’t you?”

          I asked all my clients why they chose us.  And if they knew beforehand about the lack of regulation. The evidence was compelling. And it proved that just because the consumer doesn’t ask, it doesn’t mean they don’t care. They just don’t know. And why should they? Did you check the regulatory status of your mobile phone provider? Or just presume they comply?

          Safe, competent service IS important to them. Maybe you just didn’t ask the right question.

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  3. rsvstu97

    Yet anyone can become an MP. Standards are pretty low there. Dubious expenses claims and bribes to represent companies as well as many like George Osborne who had 6 jobs in total. How can that be ethical? Paid to represent big business not their constituents.

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  4. Property Ear

    Utter farce – more expensive legislation from a bunch of muppets

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  5. JamesB

    Just this weeks attack .. be more surprised if the government think tanks went a week without coming up with something … another vote winner to milk some cash while they are on

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  6. Lettings Guru

    Regulation and qualification will bring much needed professionalism into the industry.

    However, I think the bar could be set too low, for example ARLA Level 2 – which is pretty basic.

    I am appalled by the suggestion of no grandfathering – many of us industry oldies have invested a significant number of years and financial investment in getting professionally qualified.  #annoying and ill thought out

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  7. DarrelKwong43

    enforce the current regime, and you will make a better industry overnight

     

     

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  8. Countrybumpkin

    It strikes me that this process could be effectively simplified. Take motoring for example. When someone is caught speeding, they have a choice of taking a course. Why bash the good conforming agents. Why not focus on the Ombudsman complaint system and any complaint upheld, then that office/firm will need to go on a compulsory course to learn more. This way, the ‘right’ people are being ‘punished’ and if they double fault then perhaps a point system could work. i.e we could all hold estate agency licenses (just like car drivers and cab drivers) and if we re-offend then its ‘off the road’ Hey, wait a minute the agency owners would then get ‘hammered’ under employment law. Now then, which way shall we turn next – or just get on with our business in hand…

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  9. Country Boy

    Most interesting, can politicians first explain why qualifications to be a solicitor does nothing to prevent them from giving poor advice (as with the buyers of obnoxious leases) or vanishing with Clients money? Further a prison officer once told me he always had the best legal advice for free as they always had solicitors serving time and pon and off Barristers! Asked if he had any estate agents in prison he replied not, asked when he last had one he replied he could not remember. If we insisted our MP’s required a qualification would this make them more honest than they are, would it stop them miss leading the public, far more than estate agents do? Yet more utter nonsense from this so called conservative government, who they say are pro business!!! The quicker Nigel Farage starts a new political party the better to remove these utter idiots we have in power at present. Would the NAEA care to comment, as this was set up by unqualified estate agents to be its voice and to lobby MP’s. So sorry I should not have asked that question as they are so busy working for the goverment selling training course we do not have the time to attend
    Am I the only one feeling like this about this government and the NAEA top brass?

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  10. CountryLass

    I very much disagree with no grandfathering. Some of them have forgotten more than these training courses could teach! And as most of it would be obvious and instinctive to them, chances are a test would be a problem for them, I could be wrong but I don’t think I am.

    But I do think some sort of regulation or license would be a good thing, as long as it was made clear to everyone that unlicensed/regulated Agents are not covered under any sort of insurance etc, and so using them could literally cost you thousands!

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  11. Norfolkboy15

    oh come on. Its about time our profession was regulated and seen as a proper profession. There are far too many ‘dell boys’ out there who give the rest of us a bad name. Lets face it we are dealing with most peoples biggest asset and currently you need no training or qualifications to do this. Its a bit of a joke.  All of my team have been through qualifications and yes there are costs involved but I have a committed team who have found the whole process to be worthwhile……and the clients like it too!

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  12. Cheesybiscuits

    Fantastic! Hopefully this will prevent everyone and their mums setting up an estate agency in their bedroom.

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