In future, anyone using a letting or estate agent or a property manager will be able to judge their performance against a new code of practice and a new and improved system for dealing with complaints. This is because a new code for property agents is being drawn up by a high-level industry group being led by Labour Peer Baroness Hayter.
The expert group includes ARLA and NAEA Propertymark, Trading Standards and sales and lettings industry trade bodies, as well as professional bodies such as the RICS and IRPM plus the courts and the Property Ombudsman.
The new code was one of the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) working group that issued its report last July. As well as a new code of practice, the report called for:
- an independent regulator,
- licensing for all agents,
- mandatory qualifications, and
- a powerful new form of redress for consumers.
According to Estate Agent Today, “the new Code of Practice is likely to be a single, high-level set of principles to be applied to all residential property agents; there will also be a number of other more detailed sections developed that are specific to various aspects of the residential property agent sector, such as sales, lettings and management. “
The aim is to produce a draft code to go out for consultation later this month. Once finalised – hopefully by the end of the year – it will be handed over to the new industry regulator, once that role has been established.
At Ringley we welcome the prospect of a proper code of conduct for property agents – something our industry has been lacking for many years. Property professionals will benefit from clear guidelines and consumers will be clear what standards they can expect from agents. Rogue operators should have less chance to thrive and the new system for consumer redress, once established, will also give our customers the confidence that property agents will be held to account if they don’t meet the standards expected of them.
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