In an industry which is faced with constant changes in day-to-day practices and even more so given the Covid terrain which agents now have to navigate, no-one is better placed to help shape the sector than those who work to tackle ongoing legislative implications head on.
Here, I share my thoughts on the importance of lobbying representatives for Westminster, Stormont, Holyrood and the Synedd, and how agents can make a real difference by sharing their thoughts and experiences to relevant key players.
What is the benefit of lobbying?
The sector continues to be in the thick of legislative change with countless proposals, reports, and investigations across the UK. Lobbying governments is crucial for the sector and plays a huge part in ensuring proposals are right and benefit all parties.
To strengthen the calls from industry bodies like Propertymark and make sure that what is put forward makes a genuine difference, agents at all levels need to feed into consultations and surveys from lobby groups across the board.
Surveys and other data collecting methods add weight to a case by showing quantitative evidence or support in the sector and responses to surveys help to form a strong picture and affect the decisions of governments.
How and why do organisations and individuals lobby?
While some dubious lobbying activity is highlighted in the news, representative organisations collect vital data through surveys to form a clear picture of the industry. This, in turn, helps mould the responses they give to government when feeding into consultations on relevant topics.
Although it is more effective if you share your concerns or experiences with a group to build a stronger collective voice, agents can also lobby their local MPs or a member of House of Lords themselves. Lobbyists make their case through communications across all channels and for Propertymark that includes regular surgeries in the Palace of Westminster where MPs and Lords come to get advice on topical issues or answers to constituents’ concerns.
For tips on writing a letter to a local MP, visit the NAEA Propertymark website.
How Propertymark plays its part
Lobbying hugely helps to achieve Propertymark’s mission to even the playing field, ensure that the sector is both fairly regulated and legislated in order to be seen as a pivotal profession by all. We have the biggest dedicated Policy, PR and Marketing teams in the industry as I understand it, which allows us to be the voice for the sector across all devolved nations and represent the professional industry’s interest.
We continue to work tirelessly to monitor and lobby on upcoming legislative developments to ensure that our members’ opinions are heard and when necessary, push back on proposals to make sure that the work of governments across the UK is right for the sector.
Our monthly PRS and HMR reports are based on research gathered from our members through a confidential online survey. From this, we are able to generate statistics and identify trends to shape our arguments and proposals to governments.
I would like to urge all members to keep an eye out for our email communications and take a few minutes out of their day to answer a handful of questions to ensure we are able to continue to do what’s right for the sector.
We continuously respond to a large number of public consultations issued by government departments and other agencies that affect the industry where we make our views clear on proposed legislation. An archive of all our responses for both the sales and lettings industry can be found on the NAEA Propertymark and ARLA Propertymark websites.
Over the course of the pandemic, we have worked with governments across the UK to get some major wins for the property industry during this difficult time. These include:
Commission being included within furlough pay
Business Rate Relief
Property sector reopening first
Property Tax Holiday
No repeat of adjusted Right to Rent checks
Our united efforts to campaign for a Property Sector Support Package contributed to a Stamp Duty/Land Transaction Tax/Land and Buildings Transaction Tax holiday which has supported record-breaking market activity.
*Nathan Emerson is interim CEO of Propertymark, a director at industry charity Agents Giving and a property industry consultant. He is also a contributor to PropTech Today.