Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has announced yesterday that the government will introduce new measures to professionalise the estate agency market to drive up standards and put a stop to rogue landlords.
Estate agents will now be required to have a professional qualification as well as operate with more transparency where fees are concerned particularly with regard to referrals from solicitors, mortgage brokers and surveyors.
Other measures announced were: –
- Encouraging the use of voluntary reservation agreements to help prevent sales falling through and crack down on gazumping.
- Setting a timeline for local authority searches so buyers get the information they need within 10 days
- Requiring managing agents and freeholders to provide up-to-date lease information for a set fee and to an agreed timetable which will end the current situation where leaseholders are at the mercy of freeholders and their agents; and..
- Strengthening the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team so they can carry out more enforcement activity which includes banning agents.
For far too long the estate agency industry has got away with providing below par standards to the determent of those it is supposed to support and serve. Hopefully, these new regulations will go some way in raising the bar and compelling those operating below it to get their house in order.
The current process is outdated and works in favour of the agent not the consumer and this simply isn’t good enough when you consider the financial commitment required throughout the process.
Home buying and selling must be improved and by increasing the speed of a transaction, with the addition of a higher degree of certainty and stability, fewer sales will collapse, less money will be wasted and there will be less stress for buyer and seller alike.
We’ve been working with the Land Registry, Nationwide and the Law Society to name but a few, as part of the Ministry of Housing Culture and Local Government, to provide guidance and advice on how to better the UK home buying and selling process.
One area we’ve highlighted that is in dire need of improvement is the lack of regulations and qualificational requirements and so we are vehemently in favour of licensing agents and delighted to see this change in the industry.Russell Quirk