The Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler, has announced that a new working group will be set up to raise standards across the housing sector.
Whilst the industry seems to be getting hit left, right and centre at the moment with changing legislation, this is something all good letting agents can whole hardheartedly support.
The group will be lead by Lord Best, and supported by a number of professional bodies, including ARLA Propertymark, the RICS and consumer groups including Citizens Advice.
It’s brief includes advising on regulation and mandatory minimum qualifications.
Currently, anyone can operate as a property agent without qualifications or professional oversight. Many take a professional approach and sign up to standards of practice through membership of a professional body, but not all. The working group will consider the entire property agent sector to ensure that any new framework, including any professional qualifications requirements, a Code of Practice, and a proposed independent regulator, is consistent across letting, managing and estate agents.
Housing minister Heather Wheeler said: “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.”
The group will look at:
- a model for an independent property-agent regulator, including how it will operate and how it will enforce compliance
- a single, mandatory and legally-enforceable Code of Practice for letting and managing agents, and whether similar could be provided for estate agents
- a system of minimum entry requirements and continuing professional development for letting, managing and estate agents
- a standardised approach for presenting transparent service charges to leaseholders and freeholders
- an easier statutory-backed process for consumers to challenge unfair service charges
- whether other fees and charges which affect both leaseholders and freeholders are justified; should be capped or banned
- further measures to professionalise estate agency
- as well as additional matters which in its opinion support the aims above