Quick Guide to the Regulation of Property Agents
30th September 2019
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RoPA is a Government working party consisting of trade representatives and is headed by Lord Best. After starting work in October 2018, RoPA has just produced a 54-page document calling for a revolution in how agents are regulated, licensed and trained.

The recommendations include:

  •  an independent regulator to implement a new regulatory regime for property agents
  •  licensing will be compulsory for agents and individuals handling property transactions
  •  a statutory code of practice will cover all areas of the property industry
  •  modular qualifications will allow agents to be trained in the areas of property work relevant to their career
  •  the new regulator will be responsible for enforcement and redress with the support of trading standards, existing redress schemes and professional bodies.

These plans, affecting everyone from auctioneers to online agents, have been accepted by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and appear set to enter the statute books within two years.

RoPA aims to make property agents as highly regarded as solicitors, with similar levels of skills and ethics. This will involve minimum entry requirements, and the need for property agencies to be responsible for training their staff to the required level, with strict restrictions for trainee staff.

However, it does not appear that the existing trade bodies (such as NAEA, ARLA etc) could fulfil the role as the property industry’s new regulator. This brings into question the future of these competing trade associations, as property agents will be required by law to join the Government appointed regulator.

Much of the proposals appear to be centred around property sales, so there are questions over the full impact on the lettings sector. For example, what happens with private landlords who self-manage their properties? Well, the report does include a vague line about the regulator having the authority to extend its remit to cover landlords and developers, but it is not clear.

Then there is the question over whether the regulator should extend its powers to include online portals such as Rightmove and AirBnB, which technically do not act as agents?

To get the ball rolling, RoPA recommends establishing working groups for each sector of the property industry to draw up regulatory codes of practice. Then agents will need to be thoroughly assessed before any qualifications or licences are issued.

In the end, this all means a lot of civil servants, a lot of committee meetings and a lot of funding. The two-year timetable for the proposals to become law is beginning to appear a little optimistic…

If you have any questions regarding the new legislation, please contact Knight Property Management for a free, no obligation chat. Call us today on 01992 308181.

About the Author

Jan and David

Member since: 22nd April 2012

Award-winning letting agents and chartered surveyors regulated by RICS and ARLA.

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