Mandatory qualifications for property agents

22/7/2019 9:07 AM

Yesterday the government published their report on the potential framework for the regulation of property agents. The report proposes an entirely new regulatory framework, and means that all agents will need to hold a qualification equivalent to Level 3 or higher in order to be able to work within the industry. This is a huge step forward in stamping out malpractice within the industry, and something that regulatory bodies such as ARLA have campaigned for for many, many years.

Currently anybody can operate as an estate or letting agent with absolutely no training or qualifications. Whilst the general public perception is that we simply upload a few photographs to Rightmove and then conduct viewings, the reality is very different (especially for lettings!).

Many new laws have been brought in recently that impact estate & letting agents across the UK, but the real issue is that there is no body that really has the power or funding to be able to properly police compliance across the industry. For example... Client Money Protection insurance has been mandatory since 1st April 2019 but there are still regular stories about clients losing money because firms have misappropriated client funds.

The recommendations in the report are as follows:

  • 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

In short this is fantastic news, and with the new regulator being funded by the industry itself we will finally have a body with the power and funding to be able to truly increase standards and drive out rogue agents.

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