Within the next two to three years the introduction of mandatory Licensing for all sales and lettings agents will be brought into the sector. Any employee within an estate or letting company who has direct contact with customers, whether simply accompanying a viewing, to negotiating offers will be required to complete an Ofqual regulated qualification to practice their work.
On Thursday 18 July 2020 the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) released a report of the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group (ROPA). Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler MP, set up the group in October 2018 and appointed Lord Richard Best as Chair. ARLA Propertymark and NAEA Propertymark have been part of the small group of industry stakeholders which has examined several key industry issues including regulation and qualification.
The working group has proposed a new regulatory framework to cover estate agents in the UK and letting and managing agents in England only and has recommended:
- All agencies operating a residential property business should be licensed and licensing should include a fit and proper person test for company directors.
- All customer-facing staff employed within residential agency business should be licensed and adhere to a Code of Practice.
- All customer-facing staff employed within residential agency business should hold a qualification at Level 3 or above.
- All company directors and management agents should be qualified to a minimum of Level 4.
- A new regulator to be appointed to oversee compliance with an overarching Code of Practice.
These are substantial changes which will require agents to start making preparations now to ensure that they are well placed for when these proposed requirements are introduced.
Whilst Ashington Page is already a member of ARLA Propertymark, in order to be ahead of our competitors and the looming legislation, our lettings team have now all signed up for the Technical Level 3 Award (similar to an A level standard). Study material covers several areas of the business including Health and Safety, Security, General Law, Legal Aspects of Lettings, Management and Property Practices. Circa 140 hours of extra study will be carried out by each dedicated member of our team outside of office hours, together with four separate examinations taken at external examination centers.
Our Lettings Manager Claire Woodrow completed the Level 3 Award earlier this year and believes the knowledge gained from the qualification, with over 170 regulations and growing, has undoubtedly boosted her confidence in fulfilling her role whilst being able to provide invaluable advice to Landlords. An independent individual regulator will be appointed by the Secretary of State to monitor licensing going forward, with powers to enforce closure of any unlicensed agents still operating. Ashington Page welcome this new regulation and feel it is vital to the industry for client safety and another step to wiping out unfair rogue letting agents.
If you are a landlord and are worried about the increasing legislation for the Private Rental Sector, you can download our Lettings Obligation booklet by clicking on the image below, or please give Claire a call on 01494 685514 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.