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Licensing won't deter immoral agents - claim

Licensing of estate agents may raise the barrier to entry but it won’t stop those with poor morals, Fine & Country’s Ben Madden has claimed.

Addressing the issue of agency licensing on the latest Agents MVMT Pass the Syrup podcast, Madden, of Fine & Country Turnham Green Terrace, said he thinks people are confused about what licensing offers.

It comes as the five-year anniversary of the Regulation of Property Agents report by Lord Best approaches.


Agents backed the idea of licensing and professional standards at last week’s Propertymark One conference.

But Madden said: “There is conversation that it will clean out the industry, but there are doctors that murder people and nurses that kill children.

“They go through a lot of work to get to where they are.

“There are plenty of people whose mortal compass is in a direction you may not agree with who are happy to get qualifications to do things badly.

“I don’t think licensing will clean up the moral side of the business.”

Guests on the panel backed the idea of licensing but said it would require effective enforcement.

One of of the guests, Simon Bradbury, managing director of Thomas Morris Sales & Lettings, added: “We have competitors who we suspect put houses on the market without doing the correct anti-money laundering requirements.

“I find that abhorrent and irritating, but I can’t see who to report that to.”

The guests also discussed how agents can cope with rising interest rates, with panellists suggesting firms focus on what they can control such as their own costs and fees.

Watch the full podcast below:

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    Bravo Ben!

  • Stuart Radmall

    If forcing agents to become licensed isn't going to stop those with poor moral behaviour then maybe we should be looking at a rating system for brokers and agents.
    I totally agree with Ben. Many estate agents and agencies don't put their clients first and I am hearing more and more about poor service if any sort of service at all.
    I am an associate with REMAX in Edinburgh and we do our best for both our sellers and buyers delivering an end to end solution.

    Pour quality service from some agents is one of the reasons that this country has such low commission fees compared with the likes of some European countries charging up to 6% in fees.

    Restaurants in this country have a 5-star rating system. Maybe this is something that should be looked at for both Agencies and Agents.

    This would highlight those offering a pour quality of service and who are indeed working from a different moral compass to the rest of us. They will no longer be able to hide in plain sight. They will be slapped with a label which is based on both the company performance and that of their staff or associate agents. It might mean some agencies need to rethink who they are employing if said employee is negatively affecting their overall score.
    Each office would be granted an overall score based on the scores of the office and all staff members. This could be looked at on a year on year basis moving either up or down.
    It could even be linked to brands such as REMAX. Where the score of a brand is taken from the average of all of its branches across an area.

    It may not push our fee percentage up to that of Europe, but those of us who do care about our clients and offer them a great service as individuals and agencies we can start gaining the business that is being taken from us by cheap and unprofessional companies and agents.

    Just a thought!!
    REMAX - Edinburgh


    i use a local agent who charges 1% and is by far the best agent in the town

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    And if I was an agent I would be on rating all other agents with 1 star

    Stuart Radmall

    Hi Janet.
    This isn't about the fee. Its about the quality of service you are receiving and how these companies conduct their business. Your local agent would clearly be looking at a higher star rating from what you have said about them.
    I think a system would have to be put in place which limits anyone rating, so actual buyers and seller.
    But you have proved the point that some people have a lower moral compass than others. LOL. Sneaky.

  • Chris Arnold

    I have been saying it for years - character over competence.

    Problem is that great agencies haven't the courage to be transparent enough for character to shine through. For most, it's all about being better than and incremental improvement. The consequence is a commodity sector where every agent is associated with the worst transgressions of others.


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