Regulation of estate agents - in need of renovation


Yesterday, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published a Report on the Recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group (RoPA).

Theirs proposal entails a new regulatory framework to cover:

  • estate agents (UK-wide), and
  • letting and managing agents (in England only).

In summary, the working group has recommended that:

  1. all agencies operating a residential property business should be licensed and licensing should include a fit and proper person test;
  2. all customer-facing staff employed within residential agency business should be licensed and adhere to a Code of Practice;
  3. all customer facing staff employed within residential agency business should hold a qualification at Level 3 (equivalent to A-level),  with directors and management agents qualified to Level 4 (equivalent to a Higher National Certificate); and
  4. A new regulator be appointed with oversight of compliance with an overarching Code of Practice.

At present, the profession largely self-regulates through its trade associations such as RICS and ARLA, with more serious breaches prosecuted by local authority trading standards officers.

According to the Ipsos MORI Veracity Index 2018, estate agents are still not the least trusted profession though - they might be in the bottom five, but they have some way to go to catch up with journalists, government ministers, politicians and advertising executives...

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Chaired by Lord Best, since October 2018, the working group made up of industry and consumer experts, have examined the options available for raising standards across the property agent sector.
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