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There are many frustrating stereotypes that the estate agency sector struggles to shrug off.  Much like the used car motor industry, these are taken with good humour and a persistent desire to change opinions permanently through exemplary customer service.  At least, that’s the view taken by Robert Oulsnam and Company and we hope it shows, having won Medium Estate Agency of the Year in 2017.

We’re really pleased that this week, the government announced a firm move towards their long-standing commitment to reform and regulate sales, lettings and management agents.

What are the Plans to Regulate Estate Agencies?

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government unveiled a new working group whose focus and aim will be to raise agency standards.  Made up of experts from across the property sector the body, chaired by Lord Best, will consider options for regulations and mandatory qualifications for all property agents.  This might include a consistent Code of Practice across the industry as well a proposed independent regulator.

At the moment, you do not need to have specific qualifications to set up shop as a property agent.  This can lead to mistakes being made or legislation not adhered to.  In turn, consumers’ faith in agents across the board is being tested.

At Robert Oulsnam, all lettings staff are actively encouraged and supported in doing ARLA training and all sales staff through NAEA.  We take ongoing training seriously and agree with Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler MP in her view that

People should have confidence when buying, selling or renting a home.” 

These plans to raise standards across the entire property agent sector so home buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords and leaseholders receive the best service possible can only be a positive thing.

The group have a tight timeline, with a report due back to the government in Summer 2019.  Lord Best will be joined by representatives from the Association of Residential Letting Agents, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Citizens Advice, the National Landlords Association, and the National Association of Estate Agents as well as independent experts from consumers and agents.

 Our Verdict?

We believe this is a really positive move that will ensure tenants, homebuyers and sellers can be confident they are getting a professional service and are being charged fairly.  The set up and representation in this new body will ensure the entire sector is represented and the needs of both businesses and consumers are considered.  Perhaps most importantly, the work currently being undertaken by agents who sign up to professional bodies will be recognised by prospective clients as setting the standard.