A new industry regulator is likely to be in place within two years according to the chair of the government’s Regulation of Property Agents working party, ROPA.
Mandatory qualifications for agents - whatever their previous experience - are likely to be phased in thereafter.
Lord Richard Best told The Property Ombudsman conference yesterday that the final meeting of his working party takes place today, Thursday, with its recommendations being presented to housing minister Heather Wheeler MP on Monday.
The recommendations are likely to be unanimously agreed by ROPA and are expected to be released to the industry and the public in the very near future.
As the working party and appropriate politicians are still considering the issues, Lord Best was unable to give specific details but told delegates:
- every ‘consumer meeting’ agent or representative in an agency would have to hold a qualification of some kind;
- there would be no ‘grandfathering’ - that is, everyone would have to secure a qualification even if they had decades of past experience but no formal qualification;
- every qualified agent would then be a license holder and only those license holders would be able to engage in a list of ‘reserved activities’ - that is, core selling or letting activities;
- there would be a Code of Practice for the industry, with specifics to be worked out by current trade bodies such as the NAEA, ARLA, TPO and others;
- the regulator would be in place within two years and qualifications would roll out from that time.
Lord Best also posed the question as to whether this may put some agents out of work - he said Yes, although emphasised that their future success was down to their own adoption of the new regulations.