In response to the news that Powys County Council will be taking over the regulation of estate agents from the OFT, Russell Quirk, CEO and founder of eMoov, the UK’s largest fixed-cost online estate agency, said: “Transferring, in effect, the entire estate agency enforcement process to a single council district is ludicrous.
“Such a resource and the meagre £170,000 funding of this backward step, is wholly inadequate to oversee 12,000 estate agency offices across the UK. Estate agents require more oversight, not less.
“The industry requires no qualification and relies upon scant, ancient statute to regulate it. Yet a property transaction is a significant event in peoples’ lives, which can be stressful and financially troublesome. For there to be no licensing, no barrier to entry, no basic knowledge requirement, and, now, a downgrading of the resource that will supervise this sector, is frankly bewildering.
“The current government may have a ‘light touch’ regulatory ideology however such an approach will leave the consumer extremely vulnerable indeed.”
Powys Council will take over the regulation of Britain’s estate agents from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) from 1 April.
The Welsh council will be able to issue warning and banning orders against agents acting dishonestly or breaching estate agent laws. The move follows a decision by the UK government to disband the OFT.
Powys won the competitive bidding process to deliver the service in place of the OFT. The UK government will pay Powys County Council £170,000 a year for three years for providing the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team, with the local authority creating three new jobs.