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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Controversial housing minister named as predecessor picks up thousands

The new housing minister is Christopher Pincher, who for the past decade has been Conservative MP for Tamworth having had a career before that as an IT consultant.

During his time in the Commons, Pincher has held three minor roles, one of which ended in controversy; none of his roles suggest any experience of the housing brief.

The first role was as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to then Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and an assistant whip; he then became deputy chief government whip, and finally - for the past six month - minister of state for Europe and the Americas.

In November 2017 Pincher stood down from the first of those three roles after allegations about his behaviour. 

A BBC report at the time said: “Mr Pincher has also referred himself to police and the Conservative party's complaints procedure following newspaper reports of allegations about his conduct in 2001 made by a party activist.”

In December that year the Conservative Party's investigating panel determined that Pincher had not breached the code of conduct. At the time the MP told the Mail on Sunday that if the activist “ever felt offended by anything I said, then I can only apologise to him.”

Pincher takes over as housing minister from high-profile Esther McVey; yesterday evening he tweeted that he was “delighted” to become housing minister, although he was “sad to be leaving a great team at the Foreign Office.” He added that he was looking forward to “getting stuck in” alongside his political boss, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Pincher’s tenure will be a busy one, even if he survives only for the same short period of time given to most of his recent predecessors. 

He will be charged with steering through the Renters' Reform Bill - announced in December’s Queen’s Speech but so far without any timetable for being introduced as a law.  This measure will abolish Section 21 and introduce the lifetime deposit concept announced as a Conservative manifesto pledge in the December election.

Pincher will also have to decide what to do about the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents’ working group, which has recommended mandatory qualifications for agents. Again, there is no timetable for the implementation of these recommendations, although the working group chair - Lord Best - insists they are likely to come into force within about two years.

A statement last evening from Mark Hayward and David Cox, chief executives of NAEA and ARLA Propertymark, says: “We welcome Christopher Pincher as the new Housing Minister. Unfortunately, the lack of continuity in this post and the persistent changes means it’s near impossible for anyone in the role to make an impact. Fixing the broken housing market should be the priority, and there’s a number of consultations and policy that requires action – most importantly the Regulation of Property Agents. We look forward to working with the new minister on these important changes to the industry.”

Meanwhile it’s been claimed by The Mirror newspaper that Esther McVey, sacked as housing minister yesterday after only seven months in the job, is to receive a pay off of £7,920 for her housing role.

This will not be the first pay off she has received in recent times; in November 2018 she received £16,876 after being sacked as Work and Pensions Secretary - a position she held for only 10 months.

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    "most importantly the Regulation of Property Agents" I understand the comment and the reinforcement of the message, and as one of the few agents with qualification beyond what is being suggested won't disagree that training is a commercial benefit to an agent, but what I do not understand is why none of the trade journalists are questioning what regulation of property agent will do, what problems are going to be solved and which parts of the housing crisis are down to un-regulated property agents.

    There is established case law precedent that impose quite onerous obligations on property agents; the duty of care and skill that effectively says- do a good job for you client or you don't get paid could not be any more clear or demanding.

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    • S S
    • 14 February 2020 10:13 AM

    I believe that regulation of Property Agents is a good thing but I don't think it is the "most important". The biggest problem is the lack of social housing, Councils selling off their properties and not replacing them over the last 40 years. Councils need to be allowed to build their own housing without being beholden to developers who always reduce the numbers of affordable/social housing in any scheme once planning is given. The Developers wont build any housing unless the numbers are reduced - not financially viable is always the claim - the Councils don't have any power as 10% of something is better than 30% of nothing! Regulating Property Agents and removing Section 21 isn't going to be a miraculous cure.

  • Algarve  Investor

    No point in even learning his name, he'll be out of the job by this time next year! Doesn't exactly sound like a stand-up bloke, either.

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    damn you got there before me. Take my 'Like'

     
  • Paul Barrett

    SS booting out the 440000 EU migrants out of UK social housing would greatly assist UK citizens for a start.
    What they are doing in UK social housing beats me!!
    Simply scandalous that social housing has been given to new arrivals of all types

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

    Christopher Pincher who according to the Telegraph may or may not have a penchant for wearing 'dressing gowns' will hold a post with no real function or power. This is held by the housing secretary and possibly by Demonic Cummings, who seems to have a view on most things. The advancement of regulation in the property industry - a big drum - beaten by some perhaps for a number of reasons also puzzles me when there are in my opinion some corking abuses taking place that no-one wishes to engage with.

    Perhaps, the 28 million of fee paid by clients of Purplebricks last year not to get their homes sold, a recent statistical report confirmed that over 22,000 vendors with Purplebricks last year took their homes off the market. At an average cost to the client of £1,300 that to me is a concern of some import, perhaps Christopher Pincher, or Baron Best might think it worthy of consideration?

    Probably not, better to ensure agents who have been selling property for forty years get an A'level in estate agency to reassure the public that regulation of the sector is in good hands.

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