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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Every agent must pass qualification exams in ‘new era’

Some older estate agents may end up retiring when mandatory examinations and qualifications are introduced as there will be no ‘free pass’ whatever experience they have.

The announcement came from Lord Richard Best, chair of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group.

He told the Council of Licensed Conveyancers conference this morning that a "new era" of estate agency industry regulation - which he expects to become law within two years - will not allow so-called ‘grand-fathering‘ under which older agents would not have to undergo qualification examinations.

Lord Best said many older agents knew everything about the industry - but others “may be absolutely hopeless.” 

“They could be completely out of date on legislation and regulation” he continued.

He said good experienced agents should find no difficulty in passing the exam - details of the exam are still being finalised; but if older agents prefer to retire "that's a price to be paid."

Lord Best reiterated the ROPA recommendations that there would be mandatory qualifications and a code of conduct - the latter being tougher than that which exists now through trade organisations like The Property Ombudsman. 

There would be two key phrases that would be “vital” to the industry, said Lord Best: every agent would have to be “a licensed agent” and a member of “a regulated body.” 

He said there would be no exceptions.

Best said that all government ministers, trade bodies, political parties and consumer groups were in favour; legislation is likely to be completed within two years.

“Regulation will happen and will fundamentally alter the property world” he claimed.

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    Will councils need to be qualified. I hope so as they are the worst culprits for not knowing or complying with legislation

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    Will self managing Landlords and property sourcers have to be qualified? they are conducting the same services as agents.

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    Excellent news. Good agency’s and their staff will only benefit. Long over due.

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    A sledge hammer to crack a nut! If only the powers that be truly understood the reality of this business. As per usual, it is spoiled by the few, so the majority have to pay. Which PAYING will be the primary reasoning for this. I thinks I might start up a training course to make a quick buck.

  • Andrew Stanton Proptech Real Estate Influencer - Analyst - CEO Proptech-PR

    I believe in education, qualifications and developing yourself, as everyone now is very much their own person and own brand.

    But, I am not sure that Boris is up for regulation of the sector, the recent Liverpool debacle with licences in landlords being shut down, shows perhaps a retrograde element creeping into the property sector.

    Also, whilst I support development of property professionals (agency is a profession) I think RoPA may be jumping the gun, as it could be 24 months or never before Baron Best who is 75 years old gets his vision through government.

    For me the key skills RoPA should be instilling is the ones that teach agents how to handle the tsunami that is the digital transformation of the industry.

    It is clear agents need to be compliant and conversant with all regulations and provide a service based on professional etiquette, but having recently see Mark Burgess hold forth with his Iceberg Digital summation of where the industry is going - think more amazon or google or Netflix rather than high street agencies taking professional photography and thinking this is cutting edge.

    You soon start to realise that the industry is very much at a tipping point, where industry visionaries arguably have more to offer than industry regulators however well meaning their intention is.

    Remember half of the global population is now Gen Z so if your agency is geared to, and markets to the baby boomers or older millennials who are 40 now, in a few years your customers will not be doing business with you.


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    Great idea I agree with him. Lord Best said many older agents knew everything about the industry - but others “may be absolutely hopeless.” are they bringing in a similar thing for "Lords" as they fit the same bill.

  • Steven Heath

    If it could have been regulated successfully then surly it would have been done long before . Not a good idea to tell the old experts to retire .

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    About b.....y time! And no reason why "old timers" can't qualify. We know now that our brains don't deteriorate much until well into retirement age and the examinations planned will not be rocket science for those who have established industry experience (or anyone else for that matter).

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    About time politicians had to take exams !. I am 60 and decided to take the level 3 exams through Property Mark in Agency and letting after attending a branch meeting. Is this going to be a waste of time and money. I guess I'll be one of those that are the price to be paid then !

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    I think its very unfair that we could lose good agents who have been in the industry for many years.
    I think grandfathering should be aloud as it is still used in many other trades.
    So people who have mortgages, rent to pay could be out of a job and lord best thinks that is ok??? Well unemployment will now be higher! the industry is tough enough as it is with Brexit etc.
    I think the exam should be slightly easier depending on your experience. A wealth of experience is far better than someone who has just come out of school and passes an exam.
    Taking an exam doesn't make you a good agent it just means you can read a book.
    Personally I think its just a ploy to make more money! Are the government going to fund us to take these exams? How many times can we take the exam? is there a certain amount of time to do it?
    All these questions are not answered.

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    As an 'old' Agent I wholly endorse this qualification requirement..... BUT.... every self managing Landlord MUST also be made to fulfil the same trading requirements.
    When will the penny drop that the biggest problem in the PRS is not Agents, but private Landlords. If I had a pound each time I came across a non-compliant Landlord that arrogantly thought he knew it all, I would be a very, rich man by now!

  • Velgram Quaid

    If the old agents 'know everything' then they won't have any trouble passing the exams and getting qualified. I'm more woried about those agents, young and old, who 'think' they know everything...

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    No one suggests that Agents know everything and, in my opinion, they should certainly all need to be qualified. My point was that the elephant in the room, when it comes to compliance, is private Landlords. Most think they are fully compliant and are blissfully unaware that they are not. Only yesterday I had a professional Landlord provide me a Form 6A . I politely pointed out to him this was the wrong form and a new 6A was brought out last June. Suffice it to say, that Landlord will need to re-serve notice with the correct documentation. Trust me, this is the smallest tip of a very big iceberg.

     
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    Paul,
    Your Propertymark qualification should form part of the exam criteria. Check it out with Arbon House qualifications dept: 01926 496800.

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    • S S
    • 28 January 2020 18:53 PM

    John Thompson - very good point - to ensure safe, fair and compliant practice - anyone buying, selling, or renting property should require the qualification - no exemptions. If the industry is to be regulated it needs to be transparent and qualifications MUST APPLY TO ALL.

  • Rob Hailstone

    Lord Best made it quite clear that his remit did not go far enough (self managing landlords etc), yet!

    Cheap shot Andrew, 'Baron Best who is 75.' He is a sprightly fellow (and a very good speaker) and should be around for many more years yet.

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    Do MP's need qualifications in order to ruin everything they touch.

  • James Scollard

    Private landlords need to be subject to the same training and qualifications, if they are letting property.
    If agents are enforcing legislation, Landlords will find an easier solution and rent themselves.
    The result is standards do not improve in the PRS.

  • Matthew Payne

    It will be interesting to see where NFOPP draw their line with regard to previously taken qualifications. It was the case that anyone that had done ARLA 1 & ARLA 2 for example had to resit the Level 3 technical Award as so much legislation had changed in such a short time. From memory that was about 2008 ish, and ever since everyone has been taking the current level 3 award in sales and lettings.

    I have heard claims that have not been verified that some people that have passed the Level 3 award since the change who have NOT paid a continuous membership fee every year to NFOPP have to now resit. I know up to 2018 this was not the case and rightly so, as many firms were not prepared to pay for every single member they had each year, as it mounted up to tens of £000s and for individuals, expecially younger people it was expensive at £200 a year. I sincerely hope NFOPP are not going to use this a vehicle to force people to resit a qualification they have already passed simply to generate more income. If the level 3 award is going to be the measure, then anyone that has passed it should not have to resit it, and with tens of thousands of people who have never done it anyway, I doubt there would be the capacity.

  • Paul Barrett

    There is definitely a case for ALL LL to be required to undergo 35hrs of CPD training once every 5 years like HGV and PSV drivers are required to do.
    We are talking about 1 week every 5 years to maintain competency.
    It isn't a perfect solution but it will to a large extent force LL to keep abreast of issues if they wish to continue trading.
    Mind you if this occurred they might consider they can dispense with their LA as CPD might give them confidence to self-manage!
    But overall it is appropriate that LL have a CPD qualification.
    My experience of the driving CPD is there is always something you get out of the training.
    I have yet to meet anyone who knows 100% everything to do with being a LL.
    I suggest the NRLA would be one of the ideal bodies to deliver training to the millions of LL out there who have no formal training.
    I suggest many EA and LA who retire would make ideal trainers.
    It would be a useful bit of income.
    The training would cost about £300 and would even be tax deductible!
    Just a question of all stakeholders coming up with a suitable syllabus.
    But no LL could seriously object to such a CPD requirement.
    It would also encourage LL to join the NRLA which would enable them to keep up to date with the fast moving and ever changing PRS.

    I suppose the big question is whether such compulsory CPD should only apply to AST LL or the soon to be AT LL when the AST and S21 is abolished.
    But as a concept LL CPD is a good idea.

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    Too Much regulation,
    I wrote to Lord Best recently as a established Agent in Mill Hill North West London, he failed to address most of my points in my email however, seems hell bent in bringing in this qualification standard, I am a Independent one man band agent, I hope giving a good service to the community, but now being 58 and having to do a lot more paperwork than ever before, now I will have to do both Level 3 as well as level 4 in both Sales and Lettings, when on earth will I find the time to do 4 disciplines on all theses modules....Good Luck with that one !
    If I do not in the future carry out or pass the said exams, I am being threatened to leave the industry and retire ! , I for one cannot afford to retire and will fight tooth and nail to protect the business I worked hard for and built up , with no help for the Government I may add, which provides plenty of VAT and taxes, which they have earn't on the back of my business !

    As a member of both ARLA, NAEA & Safeagent as well all bodies that will earn fortunes with the courses and studying that will need to take place for thousands of agents !

    Lord Best may think everyone is the academic type, but not everyone sits comfortably doing exams, but does not make them a bad Sales/Letting Agent, we just apply ourselves in a different way than the more academic type....This is a peoples business and keeping up with the correct legislation and changes is all a agent needs to be aware of , not the stressful studying and exam route.

    Hope the Government don't make it to difficult for me to carry on and not being forced to retire by Lord Best whom gets plenty of Financial privilege sitting in The House Of Lords !

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    Will those of you who don't feel they need to take an exam stop bleating. Too many estate agents and particularly letting agents are woefully lacking in knowledge, and bumble along day-to-day until the excrement hits the air conditioning.

    You'll soon find out how much you do or don't know.

    Paul Barrett

    I believe your correct perspective also concerns LL and LA.
    In general there is a lack of professionalisation amongst all those engaged in property.
    It has been largely unregulated which I don't believe is tenable these days.
    The sums of money involved surely invite rigorous regulation with professionally qualified participants.

    It will of course be a right faff to have to obtain qualifications or training as required by Govt.
    But it is going to happen like it or not.
    Rather then to accept this reality and to actively participate in creating suitable and relevant qualifications.
    It is pointless resisting the qualification requirements.

     
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    One off examination? Surely re-examined every few years? The same for conveyancers please!

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