Regulation of Property Agents

There was a big announcement last Thursday from the Ministry regarding estate agents. There has been an ongoing investigation by Lord Best into regulation of property agents. As part of his findings (published last week), he confirmed that all estate agents, letting agents and managing agents should be regulated. The proposals are very similar to those of solicitors and the SRA. the Ministry is now reviewing the recommendations, with a view to deciding what to do next

Key proposals include:

  • Mandatory qualifications – Level 3 for junior staff (equivalent to A Levels) and Level 4 for directors and managers
  • Any relevant existing qualifications can be converted, with the option of completing any missing modules only (rather than doing the full training)
  • Regulation will involve strict controls, further procedures and an element of self-regulation
  • The new body will have a range of enforcement powers, including fines and removal of the licence
  • Private individuals who sell will be excluded from this (at the moment)
  • There will be a new code of practice to adhere to, which managers must ensure all staff are aware of and execute on a day-to-day level

Liane Farthing, Director and Head of Conveyancing & Equity Release said

“There is no indication of when any of this will come into force, but we anticipate that it will be some time next year (government-depending). This report is now with the Ministry who will decide what recommendations to implement and when. The Ministry may well make changes to the proposals made by the Working Group, so the final regulation may look different.  As an independent Solicitor, practicing in an extremely competitive market, we welcome the proposals which are designed to protect those looking to buy and/or sell property”

We will keep you updated.