PRS tenants must not be left behind as social sector raises standards

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities intends to boost standards in social housing by requiring senior managers and executives to have, or be working towards, a relevant qualification. Propertymark has strongly challenged the decision not to extend this requirement to all property agents in the UK, and questioned why private tenants should not expect the same protections as those in the social sector.

Mother and son viewing bedroom

The proposals for a new, regulatory standard will ensure that staff have up-to-date skills, knowledge and experience, and that they exhibit the right behaviours to deliver a high quality, professional service and treat residents with respect.

Propertymark campaigning

Regulation is a key campaign and policy area for Propertymark and its members, who support the introduction of mandatory qualifications and a code of conduct for letting agents in England and for sales agents across the UK.

We continue to actively engage with Ministers to demonstrate the importance of professionalising the sector, emphasising that making sure agents are suitably qualified and meet minimum competency standards is an essential factor in driving up standards of service for consumers and eliminating bad practices.

Houses Norwich Tiled Roofs.jpg
13 Dec 2023
Propertymark is a specialist witness for parliamentary PRS report

All tenants should benefit from professional agents

It should be concerning to the UK Government that almost anyone can set themselves up as a letting or estate agent and can, either deliberately or through lack of experience, run a substandard service and face limited recourse due to the lack of a robust legislative framework.

If the UK Government is serious about improving standards throughout the housing sector then it must guarantee that private tenants receive the same protections as social tenants by introducing mandatory qualifications for letting agents in England and estate agents throughout the UK.

This will establish higher standards throughout the housing market and ensure that anyone who is dealing with the complexities of housing legislation is proficient to do so.  

Henry Griffith.jpg
Henry Griffith Policy and Campaigns Officer | Propertymark

Operating as a letting or estate agent is not a straightforward matter and agents require a wide range of skills. These include the ability to account for substantial flows of funds; an understanding of complex housing law; negotiation and people management skills; and the ability to manage a network of providers such as businesses providing repair and maintenance services.

Without minimum entry requirements for agents to practise, consumers are potentially dealing with someone who does not understand the technicalities of buying, selling, or renting property or how to analyse the level of risk to their business.

This damages the property industry’s reputation and leaves the door open to rogue agents continuing to operate under the UK Government’s radar. 

Agent outside a branch.jpg
19 Jan 2024
Professionalise the PRS to safeguard tenant health and safety

Sustainable improvements demonstrated in Scotland

Letting agents in Scotland have been regulated since 2014, and in their January 2023 Review of letting agent qualifications and CPD report the Chartered Institute of Housing outlined that 93% of survey respondents had undertaken an appropriate qualification, and 96% of respondents had met the 20 hours CPD requirements over three years.

87% of letting agents who had completed a qualification said they felt a positive impact on their professional capabilities, and 84% of letting agents said the introduction of qualifications has been positive for the sector overall, highlighting that more people are looking at property agency as a long-term professional career option.

How Propertymark members are regulated

Agents join Propertymark voluntarily to showcase their commitment to providing exceptional service and help ensure they remain at the forefront of the industry. We hold our members accountable to protect consumers and provide peace of mind when they see a Propertymark Protected logo.

Child running in front of parents and estate agent

Propertymark unites the experience of five leading professional bodies covering lettings, sales, auctioneering, commercial property and inventories to promote the highest standards of professionalism and integrity within the property industry.

We have a rigorous disciplinary process that will allow us to investigate any members who fail to uphold the professional standards that membership demands.

Qualifications and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are at the heart of our membership. From Associate level right through to Fellow, qualification is mandatory to be a Propertymark member. Plus, to maintain their membership, all Propertymark agents must complete a minimum of 12 hours of CPD every year.

Download our full consultation response