Propertymark has written a letter to the Rt. Michael Gove, MP, reiterates a long-standing call for regulation of property agents and outlines how this can support the implementation of the UK government’s reforms.
The coming progress on both the Renters (Reform) Bill and the recently announced Freehold and Leasehold Reform Bill provide ideal opportunities to legislate for the highest standards of practice in the industry, which will benefit both brokers and consumers.
In February 2023, Mr Gove stated that all property managers in the social housing sector must be qualified, and Propertymark has urged him to extend this requirement to lettings, sales and managers in the private housing sector.
At the Labor Party conference in October 2023, Matthew Pennycook, MP, stated that if he were in government, his party would introduce regulations as recommended by Lord Best in his 2019 report.
Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, will once again call for action when he gives evidence to the Renters Renters (Reform) Bill Committee on November 14, 2023.
Regulation offers great opportunities to professionalize the sector. All estate agents must be qualified at a minimum level 3, undertake regular training, undertake annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD), be a member of a professional body and follow a code of practice.
Complete mandatory government regulation of agents is the fastest and most effective method of eliminating unprofessional, unqualified and unethical agents from the real estate industry.
Tenants should have equal rights and protections and feel safe knowing that their property manager is qualified and trained, regardless of the lease they are renting.
Letting agents play an important role in the private rental sector (PRS) – an estimated 46% of landlords use an agent who can carry out a variety of tasks including inspections, notifications and the day-to-day management and management of a property, as well as maintaining of the vital relationship with the tenant. This could mean that potentially more than two million households could be left unprotected by efforts to improve standards within the private rental sector, if the focus on enforcement and new standards remains solely on landlords.
Currently, there are no barriers to working in the real estate industry or even joining a professional membership organization. This means varying service levels, standards and application of new and existing laws and consumer uncertainty about what to expect from an agent.
With the introduction of the Building Safety Act 2022, and further reforms expected from the Freehold and Leasehold Bill, homeowners living in a block of flats or purchasing a property to live in deserve to have access to qualified and trained agents and managers who can deliver the best standards of professional services.
Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, comments: “Statutory legislation is unmanageable and unenforceable and there is no overarching regulation to ensure that real estate agents meet basic competency standards.
The Renters (Reform) Bill provides the opportunity to introduce minimum qualification requirements and a statutory code of conduct to be adhered to by all rental, management and sales agents, professionalising the sector and providing essential protection to consumers.”
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