The Regulation of Property Agents (ROPA) Report commissioned by Government has now been published with recommendations on regulation affecting estate agents throughout the UK, and lettings and management agents in England only.
The key recommendations are as follows:
A new regulatory framework should be set up which will encompass:
- A new regulator to oversee compliance with an overarching Code of Practice
- All firms 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. The new regulator should set the syllabus and the definitive level of qualifications
Responding to the Regulation of Property Agents (ROPA) Working Group’s Report, Isobel Thomson, Chief Executive of safeagent, said:
“safeagent welcomes and congratulates Lord Best for this wide-ranging report setting out a blueprint for a professional regulated property sector which, if fully implemented, would ultimately offer consumers the same level of protection they already experience in other areas of their everyday lives.
“safeagent provided input to the ROPA working group supporting plans for minimum qualifications for agents in England. We are pleased that there is recognition that any new regulator should consider supporting qualifications and training providers to use e-learning, which safeagent has championed as the accessible and cost effective route for agents to obtain professional development.
We also welcome the focus on the need for effective enforcement which has always been the missing link when it comes to delivering what new regulation promises.
We note that the Report recommends that the short let sector is not encompassed in the scope of any new regulator but we believe that there should be a focus on this area of activity as consumers are vulnerable and potentially at risk if it sits outside regulation.
We look forward to Government’s reaction to the Report and its proposals.
For any firm wanting to start now to consider qualifications for their staff, safeagent offers a comprehensive range of courses and awards on our e-learning platform where you can learn more about our Level 3 Award in Letting & Property Management [England] which is accredited by awarding organisation NCFE. Candidates who successfully complete the Level 3 will receive an NCFE certificate and can use our designation “safeagent Qualified”. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.