Regulating Property Agents
Posted on 19th July 2019 at 22:50
Letting Agents and Estate Agents to be Regulated with a new and Independent Redress Scheme
The announcement has finally been made in July 2019 by the Parliamentary Committee that the Property Industry is going to be regulated in a similar way to financial and legal services and about time too is what we think.
Property Agents, whether they be Letting Agents, Estate Agents, Online Agents, or Auctioneers will need to be licensed to practice and have qualified staff. There are already regulations in place regarding Client Money Protection schemes and being members of a Redress Scheme, but this is taking things a step further with a new Independent Regulatory body to be formed with everyone working to the same Code of Practice and specific requirements relating to staff being qualified. There is some way to go yet in agreeing the training syllabus that can be delivered by different training providers that will deliver acceptable qualifications for the industry as a whole and the formation of a new Regulatory body will not happen overnight, but I suspect that 2020, if not before, will see significant progress being made.
How will it affect Landlords and Tenants?
In truth very few will see any significant change at the moment. The majority of letting agents are already members of a professional body and also covered by the Code of Practice of the Redress Scheme of which they are a member. Training and qualification can vary from one company to another, so setting a common standard is long overdue.
In time Landlords and Tenants will be able to have more confidence that there is a common industry standard to be adhered to, with one Redress scheme hopefully applying common principles. Certainly from a Landlords point of view this may open up more choice for them as to who to engage as their Letting Agent.
Will this affect Private Landlords who do not use an agent?
The answer to that appears to be 'Yes, it may well do so in the future' The Committee report is pretty clear that the development of training and licensing should be something that could be easily transferred to private landlords in the future.
The next couple of years will undoubtedly see many changes to the private rental sector with a number of other proposed changes to legislation which I will comment on separately in due course.
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