Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler MP, set up the working group in October 2018 and appointed Lord Richard Best as Chair. ARLA Propertymark and NAEA Propertymark have been part of the small group of industry stakeholders which has examined several key industry issues including regulation and qualification.
We have campaigned for higher professional standards in the industry for many years. It is vital that consumers have confidence in the agent that is providing them with information and dealing with each stage of their transaction.
The report outlines the following:
- Government intervention to ensure everyone in the industry is licensed, adheres to a strict code of practice and holds at least a Level 3 qualification (the level equivalent to an A-level). It offers huge potential to stamp out bad practice and raise professional standards.
- A new regulatory framework to cover estate agents in the UK and letting and managing agents in England only.
- All agencies operating a residential property business should be licensed and licensing should include a fit and proper person test.
- All customer facing staff employed within residential agency business should be licensed and adhere to a Code of Practice.
- All customer facing staff employed within residential agency business should hold a qualification at Level 3, preferably with directors qualified to Level 4.
- A new regulator be appointed to oversee compliance with an overarching Code of Practice.
How RoPA effects firms and individuals
Only individuals can hold qualifications and the working group recognised that not every employee of an agency is a property agent. It has been recommended that Government create a list of ‘reserved activities’ – activities which can only be performed by a licensed individual at a regulated firm.
It is recommended that every property agency be responsible for ensuring their staff are trained to the appropriate level and clear oversight arrangements are in place for junior staff. The regulator will impose continuing professional development requirements on licensed agents.
Start to prepare for regulation
There are substantial changes ahead which will require agents to start making preparations to ensure they are well placed for when the proposed qualification and regulatory requirements are introduced.
While we anticipate that the need for property qualifications will be phased in, we advise agents to get ahead of the competition and to stand out by adopting the new requirements early. Propertymark can support you and your organisation both with getting qualified and preparing for regulation.
The Regulation of Property Agents working group has proposed a new regulatory framework focused on estate agents in the UK and letting and managing agents in England.