From Robert Ulph on May 17, 2021
I am a long-term supporter of regulation across our industry and I welcome any increased focus on this.
I have always taken the view that if we see any professional, an accountant or solicitor for example, for advice and use of their services, we expect them to adhere to a set of principles, Regulation for agents who are entrusted with property and hold such significant amounts of money too, is obvious to me.
The latest focus on this subject has come about as three property agents across the UK have been excluded from The Property Ombudsman (TPO) for failing to pay outstanding awards. The episodes highlight the importance of regulating the property sector and shows how it continues to be crucial to improve the quality and reputation of the profession.
Letting agents in Leicester, Slough and Porth Wales were excluded from TPO after failing to pay outstanding awards that were handed to them for various complaints including repairs and maintenance, the provision of documentation, and poor complaint handling. The outstanding fines ranged from £300 to over £3,200.
To even the playing field and ensure that rogue agents don’t tarnish the name of all, Propertymark has long called for Government regulation 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 for the professionalisation of the sector and to stamp out bad practices.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) released a report of the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group (RoPA) which requires, amongst other recommendations, that all staff delivering ‘reserved activities’ employed within the residential agency business should hold a qualification at Level 3 or above. Following the extensive considerations by the working group, Propertymark state that it is now for the Government to create the structures for a properly regulated industry.
These are substantial changes that will require a lot of agents to start preparing now to ensure that they are well placed for when these proposed qualification requirements are introduced. At Pennington, we have always had a close association with Propertymark and we have several licensed members in our team, so there is always somebody on hand to help.
The best advice I can give is to get assistance from a professionally qualified agent, who is ARLA Propertymark licensed. You can check credentials on their website as all members, throughout the country, will be named on the site. By using a licensed agent, landlords and tenants will have the peace of mind their agent will provide a professional service and adhere to industry standards, giving protection for the property and all money associated with it.
If you need any advice on this or would like to discuss any other matters on the local property market, please do not hesitate to contact me.