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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Government 'rules out estate agency regulation'

The government has allegedly ruled out any regulation of estate agents for fear that it would lead to higher fees and would be deemed anti-competitive.

During the annual myhomemove conference Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, is reported by the publication Mortgage Introducer to have requested more regulation from re-appointed housing minister Brandon Lewis. 

Hayward told the conference: "I've asked him for regulation of our industry and he said no. He told me it was anti-competitive because if all agents were licensed he believed we would set our fees higher and that would not benefit the consumer."

Hayward said this was not the case and asked Lewis to reconsider but the housing minister failed to respond. 

Ironically the government’s ruling out of regulation for estate agents comes as it is reportedly likely to introduce a national register for landlords.

Meanwhile at the same conference myhomemove chief executive officer Doug Crawford used his keynote speech to call on the property industry to keep pace with rapidly changing consumer demand.

Crawford told delegates that consumer habits were changing with demands for instant updates and transparency on tracking a conveyancing case from offer to completion, using more technology - with the average UK household now having 7.4 internet connected devices - and with the public increasingly seeing online customer reviews as being as important as personal recommendations. 

“The internet doesn’t respect a company’s size or history – it’s about what’s working now. When it comes to customer expectations online, don’t expect to compare yourself to others in your market. Your customer judges your website on whether it’s as good as their bank, insurer, supermarket or even gaming site” says Crawford. 

Crawford has also announced an update for eWay – myhomemove’s online case-management service – to include branding for customers and a more easily accessible interface, scheduled to come into effect later this year.

  • Rob  Davies

    Wrong move from Lewis. How exactly does greater regulation, which would improve trust between estate agents and consumers, make the industry anti-competitive?

  • Richard Rawlings

    Ridiculous. If British estate agents have a poor reputation AND they're the cheapest in the world (by a long way), then surely regulation makes obvious sense, even if this simply meant that agents had to pass a basic competency test as a minimum.

  • Kelly Evans

    @Rob Davies - maybe because extra regulation means more people who have nothing to do with property interfering on matters they know nothing about.

  • icon

    The only way the Government will be made to change is its mind is with a rash of cases relating to non- compliance with the existing legislation and from overt dishonesty. Yopa may be starting this run already with its proud statement that they will value homes without viewing them. The first thing a trainee estate agent learns is that you cannot value a property without seeing it and I can see the elderly living on their own and naive sellers being the first victims of this practice.

  • Algarve  Investor

    @Kelly Evans - that's not what would happen here, though. You wouldn't get a load of outsiders putting their noses in, trying to tell those already in the industry how to run it. This is estate agents themselves asking for more regulation, not outsiders who 'know nothing about the industry' as you so charmingly put it.

  • Algarve  Investor

    @Richard Rawlings - completely agree. Foolish decision. I thought Lewis had more sense than this.

  • Daniel Roder

    Just Googled YOPA - I'd never heard of them before - and it's shocking that they can attempt to value a home without seeing it in the flesh. Is this common practice among all online agents?

    How is it even possible? Valuing on the basis of photos or virtual tours?

  • Jonathan Rolande

    I guess we have a true Tory Government now who will leave as much as possible to Market Forces. In fairness though considering it’s size and the value of it’s products, there are relatively few serious problems with Estate Agents, despite the public perception.

  • Tom  Harrington

    Yes, the public perception of estate agents is often not matched by my own experiences. But that's the power the media can have - if they create a stigma and a stereotype, it tends to stick.

  • Trevor Mealham

    Hang on. Mark asked one Government official. There are others such as BIS, CMA, Trading Standards etc etc etc.

    Mark is likely to have asked for NAEA to regulate which not all agents will want.

    On Friday last week I met with the chair of UK Trading Standards, Lord Toby Harris who has NTSEAT under him. We discussed Government cut backs. But there could be room to encourage industry self policing and self regulation at levels.

  • Trevor Mealham

    Better agency may require higher fees. But budget agency although cheaper can cost a seller thousands when the budget agent is a poor negotiator.

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