The industry regulator who comes into force when the Regulation of Property Agents’ recommendations are adopted may take over versions of the codes of practice currently provided by The Property Ombudsman.
One of the key recommendations of RoPA was to have an industry regulator, and as member of the RoPA working party - outgoing NAEA Propertymark chief executive Mark Hayward - recently revealed that the codes of practice of both his organisation and The Property Ombudsman would be over-ridden by the new regulator.
Now, in an interview with Estate Agent Today, the new TPO - Rebecca Marsh - says her office would be only too happy to hand over its Codes of Practice to a new industry regulator.
“Operating our codes and making sure they are up to date is an important job and we know that the significant majority of the sales and letting agents rely on what’s in those documents” she says.
“However, we are the only Ombudsman that operates codes in any business sector (excluding the Motor Ombudsman) and the codes have resource and cost implications for TPO. In many sectors it is the regulator that owns the sector codes, and the lack of a regulator in the property sector is the main reason why the industry asked TPO to develop codes many years ago” she adds.
“As such, handing these over to a new property sector regulator would be a milestone, not just for TPO but for the industry and its consumers.”
However, the actual implementation of the RoPA recommendations covering a regulator, mandatory training and licensing still seems a long way off, notwithstanding the government saying it is officially still on the agenda.
Mark Hayward told a recent webinar that housing minister Chris Pincher was behind the recommendations, and that work had been conducted to calculate the likely costs of agents meeting the mandatory qualifications - up to £600 per agent to attain the relevant Level 3 or Level 4 qualifications.
However, he also revealed it would take up to three years for RoPA to become law - so towards the end of the current Parliament - and then there would be something like a two year preparation period during which agents would have to secure their qualifications.