Support, Advice and Experience within the Property Market

A Welcome Regulation for the Housing Sector

From Robert Ulph on October 10, 2019

In October last year the then Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler MP set up the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group (RoPA) to look at a new regulatory framework for estate agents and letting and managing agents. The aim of the group was to work to raise professional standards in the industry and I am pleased to say that, now this month, we are another step closer to full regulation for the housing sector.

Having worked in the industry for over 25 years and as a Board member for ARLA Propertymark, I couldn’t be more pleased that regulation is to become a reality. Through ARLA Propertymark, 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. 

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. They contributed to the work of RoPA which was headed up by Lord Best, an independent cross bencher, looking at ways to improve standards for home buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords and leaseholders.

Previously, anyone can operate as a property agent, although lettings professionals can set themselves apart from the competition by joining a membership organisation such as ARLA Propertymark. In doing so, they agree to abide by a Code of Practice and provide greater protection for tenants and landlords, including Client Money Protection and belonging to a redress scheme. 
Now with substantial changes ahead, this will require all agents to start preparing to ensure they are well placed for when the proposed qualification and regulatory requirements are introduced.

The RoPA report proposes a new regulatory framework which would cover estate agents across the UK but letting and managing agents in England only. The recommendations will mean that all agencies operating a residential property business should be licensed and licensing should include a fit and proper person test. In addition, a new regulator is to be appointed to oversee compliance with an overarching Code of Practice.

This new framework will ensure consistency across letting agents, managing agents and estate agents. Full regulation will bring the industry up to the standards already attained by ARLA Propertymark Members, making it easier for the public to understand the level of professionalism and protection offered by those working in the housing sector. This would bring increased confidence among consumers and a boost the reputation of the industry, making it more akin to the legal or accounting professions. 

This is a welcome approach and I look forward to continuing to work with ARLA Propertymark, in the best interest of our landlords, our tenants and with the dedicated team we have at Pennington.

I am always available for advice on the local property market as well as legislative and regulatory issues, so please do not hesitate to contact me.