Regulation of the Property Industry - No Need to Panic

Today we received a spike in the number of calls we usually have; it’s not an unusual occurrence because are a customer facing organisation who supports their membership with advice, guidance and help in any matters relating to Landlord, Tenant, and the Agency world . What caused the spike today’s announcement that the findings of ROPA (Regulation of Property Agents) presented to the Housing Minister on Monday, that the Private Rented Sector should be regulated.

The “trinity of disciplines” within the sector - Letting Agents, Estate Agents and Block Managers / managing agents - will require qualifications, a licence and a requirement to abide by a universal Code of Practice. The announcement also confirmed that there will be an “overarching” regulator.

The committee, chaired by Lord Best will has taken into consideration the legislation introduced in Wales and Scotland, the Welsh law being less onerous than the Scottish. It is clear, however, that as the private rented sector becomes more complicated to navigate, an industry standard entry level qualification was always “on the cards”. Its very strange that previous Governments have not made the decision to regulate the property sector. England, unlike to the United States, China, India, Australia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, to name but a few, has not regulated estate agents or letting agents. And whilst we all understand that buying a house, either to be an owner-occupier or a landlord, is one of the most important transactions (financially) a person is likely to make, why now? Currently only 8% of Letting agents in England are actually qualified (voluntarily), so it will be interesting to see the impact this has on the sector.

The report does not give time frames, yet the underlying message is that those serious about their “profession” should start making strides into becoming qualified sooner rather than later.