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Major agency vows to be ROPA ‘early adopter’

Agency brand Knight Frank has pledged to be one of the first adopters if minimum standards and qualifications are introduced in the sector.

It comes amid ongoing debate about if and when the Regulation of Property Agents (ROPA) rules will be introduced.

Writing in The Sunday Times, Tim Hyatt is head of residential at Knight Frank, said introducing the ROPA rules would “immediately bring in minimum operating requirements, a code of practice, qualified agents and a new regulator to oversee compliance — ultimately raising professional standards across the sector.”


He added: “It would not only create a level playing field for businesses that abide by the rules, but also greatly improve customer experience for anyone buying, selling, letting or living within a managed property. It is win-win.”

Hyatt urged the Government to stop kicking the can down the road and make introducing the ROPA rules a priority.

He said: “With increased regulation it would remove rogue agents, property managers and landlords…we put our people through industry-leading learning and development programmes to ensure they are expert in best practice, customer experience excellence, how to spot a potentially suspicious vendor or landlord — as well as much more. 

“Operating in this (compliant) way, as we do, comes at a significant cost and sadly for some agents cutting corners can mean the difference between making a profit or not.

“If the RoPA report’s recommendations are written into law, Knight Frank would become one of the first adopters.

“Now is the time for the government to act — tidying up the property industry must come into focus.”

However, commentators on Twitter questioned whether extra standards and qualifications would prevent wrongdoing in estate agency and suggested better enforcement of existing regulations would be more beneficial.

Let us know what you think in the poll below:

Poll: Will ROPA rules improve standards in estate agency?


  • Chris Arnold

    The article is about lack of trust in the profession. Regulation and qualification won't fix that problem because trust is primarily character-based, not competence-based.
    There are many professions where mandatory qualification fails to prevent client fraud.
    Self regulation is preferable. Building trust and loyalty so strong that rogue agents disappear.
    I'm not convinced that many agencies have the courage to be transparent enough and vulnerable enough to implement that. It's still a transaction for most.

  • icon

    ROPA is a positive move for the industry but it will create a gap between self-managing landlords and agents if it's only required by letting agents. By default, self-managing landlords are letting agents. While I expect the legislation to eventually cover all landlords and agents, I fear this will target agents first which will increase agents costs. It must have full coverage across agents and landlords to be effective. Plus, it must be made clear what qualifications, codes and licenses are required specifically.

  • icon

    The article was disgraceful, reinforcing the age-old narrative that agents can't be trusted and that we "don't play by the rules". One must ask why would the head of a large corporate agency write such an article? Simple, they have worked out that RoPA is a way for them to gain a financial advantage over independent agents thanks to the unavoidable fact that compliance favors large corporations who can swallow up the costs of aggressive but ineffective compliance.

    If you've voted yes in the poll above, I suspect you haven't actually read the RoPA report, otherwise its a bit like turkeys voting for Christmas. RoPA will do precisely nothing for the industry but burden it with more unneccasary cost. It will do nothing to stop the bad behaviors of that tiny minority of our industry who give us a bad name. The "bad eggs" don't do illegal things by accident they do it deliberately knowing that the trading standards estate agents’ team do not have the capacity to enforce the regulation. Oh and by the way if you had read the RoPA report you would see that it is the Trading Standards team who will once again be responsible for enforcing RoPA. It’s beyond idiotic.

    Whilst we are on the topic of regulation, we should probably take a moment to understand the difference between regulation and licensing. We are regulated, hence people get so angry about competitors not "following the rules" or regulations as they are also known! Licensing is another matter, but if that licensing just becomes a tax (which is what RoPA basically makes it) then all we end up with is a bill for qualifications, CPD and "monitoring" which is enforced by, yup you guessed it, trading standards.

    Oh and as a final point, if you had read RoPA you would also notice that the people who put the report together also all happen to be the people selling the qualifications!

  • Jan Hytch

    Doubtless similar views to some of those vented here were aired in times gone by when the scandalous suggestion that other professions, such as solicitors, surveyors, surgeons, accountants and more recently financial and mortgage advisors should be qualified/licenced in order to practice.

    Good job that sense prevailed.

    Personally, I am delighted to read of Tim Hyatt's support both for the principles of RoPA and its aims to champion a better standard of service for our clients and customers, and I think that it is our responsibility to the future of our profession to get behind this.

    Its not all about us, and how outraged we are about having to demonstrate our competence to define us from the few bad apples that tarnish our reputation as professional agents. Its about helping the general public to recognise that the agents they are dealing with have a level of proven competence and knowledge, even before they have engaged with us.

    Sure, it doesn't entirely eliminate the possibility that the odd rogue agent - even if qualified - will still choose to give poor service/advice or bad practice, as with all professions. But at the very least, a Level 3 qualification, advocated by RoPA, it is evidence to a potential customer at the get-go that an agent has proved and attained a base point of knowledge, professional competence and ethics.


    I assume it's fair for the record to point out that Jan sits on the Propertymark Advisory Panel as the "Education Advisor" and will according to PM's website "help to pave the way for future learning and accreditation."
    Propertymark happened to have 2 seats (out of 10) on the working group.
    Propertymark happen to sell almost the exact qualifications recommended by RoPA.


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