The Government has announced plans to make improvements to the property agent sector.
Heather Wheeler MP, the Minister for Housing and Homelessness, unveiled a new working group made up of experts from across the property industry. It will consider options to raise standards in the property agent sector, including the case for regulation and mandatory qualifications for all property agents, so that landlords, tenants, homebuyers and vendors can be confident that they are receiving a professional service and are being charged fairly.
The working group, chaired by Lord Best, will report its recommendations to Government by summer next year.
The group will consider the entire property agent sector to ensure that any new framework, including professional qualification requirements, a code of practice and a proposed independent regulator, is consistent across letting, management and estate agents.
Wheeler says: “For too long, many people have faced incurring fees and bad service from a number of property agents. People should have confidence when buying, selling or renting a home.
“Lord Best’s wealth of knowledge will provide a valuable insight and help us make necessary changes, to ensure consumers have confidence when buying, selling, letting or renting their home.”
She adds: “Lord Best will be joined by representatives of agents and consumers, as well as independent experts, with the group instructed to report back to Government in summer 2019.”
A recent report from Which? found that 85% of landlords who use an agent are satisfied with their service, while 67% of tenants are pleased with the way that their agent repairs and maintains their homes.
However, Lord Best points out that there have been calls for tighter, fairer regulations of the property agent sector from those representing landlords, tenants and even agents themselves.
He comments: “I am delighted to work with Government, industry and consumers to advise on how we can accomplish this in practice, and I look forward to our working group achieving real progress together.”
Members of the group, which has been designed to ensure that the entire sector is represented, and the needs of both businesses and consumers are considered, include: the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; the National Landlords Association; Citizens Advice; ARLA Propertymark (the Association of Residential Letting Agents); and NAEA Propertymark (the National Association of Estate Agents).
The announcement follows similar Government plans to crack down on the leasehold sector.