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Agency regulations may not come in original form – claim

The long-awaited Regulation of Property Agents (ROPA) rules will still be introduced but most probably in a different form, it has been claimed.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of industry trade body Propertymark has suggested that ROPA is not a Government priority but said the direction of travel is still towards minimum agency standards.

It comes as the sector still awaits the implementation of the ROPA rules, which have been backed by the Government with no firm date or legislation to introduce them.


Speaking on the Guild or Property Professionals Home Stretch podcast, Emerson said: “Regulation provides the benchmark.

“Aspects such as providing upfront information has become more prevalent, consumer protection regulations are becoming more enforceable, and we are getting to the stage where agents are held accountable for providing the right information.

“All supply partners such as solicitors, conveyancers and financial services are reliant on what estate agents do, and it is often the agent that has much of the oversight and control over the transaction in many cases. 

“Essentially there are regulated suppliers that are asked to take the information that estate agents provide, however, many won’t want to do that because they do not currently trust the qualifications of the agent. 

“Having regulations in place will put estate agents in line with everyone else involved in property transaction, such as the banks, legal services, and surveyors. Estate agents are probably the strongest link in the transaction, yet are the only group in the framework that are not regulated and are therefore less accountable.”

Guild chief executive Iain McKenzie asked Emerson whether he thinks that ROPA will happen. 

Emerson said: “I think when you look at regulation you have the idealism of ROPA within a definitive structure, and then you have the other side of the fence, which is the actual outcomes of what ROPA would be, and what other ways that would be brought in. 

“So, do you end up with licensing and regulation on block management as a first port of call, or is it the requirement to take examinations or various other possibilities? It is more than likely, looking at the direction of travel that is coming from Housing Secretary Michael Gove, it will come in segmented parts and over time more and more elements of the legislation will be put in place to regulate the sector. 

“It will be fantastic to have it, but I don’t think it is the highest thing on the agenda now. What I would reiterate, is that the movement we are seeing filtering down from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is gradually closing the holes that would effectively allow people not to operate in an unregulated society.”

Listen to The Home Stretch podcast.

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    Guild and Propertymark discussing ROPA and minimum qualifications for agents is like a couple of vampires discussing how best to set up a blood bank!


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