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Government Confirms New Regulations and Qualifications for Estate Agents Will Happen

18th July 2019

The government has accepted the proposals of the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) with wide-spread consequences for estate and letting agents.

The proposals reach right into the heart of the industry to affect regulation, training and licensing.

 

Last week, we reported the working group had sent proposals to the government. We can now confirm those proposals have been accepted and will start the journey of becoming law.

 

The Regulations in Brief: Qualifications

 

  • Minimum qualifications required for estate and letting agents
  • All agents, regardless of experience, need to be qualified to work in “reserve functions.”

The rationale for RoPA was concern over a vital multi-million-pound industry functioning with no statutory qualifications. Mark Hayward, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), says anyone can set themselves up as an estate agent. And with around 20,000 estate agents countrywide, there has been talk of regulation for some time.

“Enforcing compulsory qualifications will result in a fairer industry not only for consumers but for the professional agents who have undertaken qualifications in order to deliver the highest standards every day,” he says.

The recommendations state:

“In the new regime, every property agency should be responsible for ensuring their staff are trained to the appropriate level and clear oversight arrangements are in place for junior staff.”

 

The Regulations in Brief: The Code of Practice

 

  • A new code of practice with its own watchdog to monitor the regulations to be enforced
  • A two-tiered structured with an “overarching” code for all agents and a service-specific code

A single Code of Practice will be set up for all agents and be regulated by a single body that will “have teeth.”

“There should be a single, high-level set of principles,” the recommendations say, “applicable to all property agents which is set in statute: the ‘overarching’ code. Then, underneath, ‘regulatory’ codes specific to various aspects of property agent practice, binding only on those providing these types of services.”

 

More on the Horizon: An Open-Ended Roadmap

 

Now that the recommendations have been signed off by the MHCLG, they could become law within 12 months.

The key recommendations do not rule out increasing the reach of the new regulations.

“However, we recommend that the legislation required to regulate property agents should allow for future extension to the scope of regulation (e.g. to include at a future point regulation of landlords, freeholders and developers – as well as retirement housing managers and Right to Manage companies).”

We recommend keeping a close eye on developments over the coming years, as legislation has a habit of growing rather than shrinking.

You can read the recommendations for yourself here. Familiarity now could save you time later, as these new recommendations are sure to become one of the major topics for debate for the industry.

 

Stay up to date with news and insights by following our blog.

 

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