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New plans to improve service for home buyers, sellers and tenants

The government has unveiled plans to ensure home buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords and leaseholders receive the best possible service from property agents.

A new working group, chaired by Lord Best, and made up of experts from across the property sector will consider areas that can be improved.

This will include the case for regulation and the introduction of mandatory qualifications for all property agents, so tenants, homebuyers and sellers can be confident they are getting a professional service and are being charged fairly.

Currently, anyone can operate as a property agent without any qualifications or professional oversight. Many take a professional approach and sign up to standards of practice through membership of a professional body, but others do not.

The working group will consider the entire property agent sector to ensure any new framework, including any professional qualification requirements, a Code of Practice, and a proposed independent regulator, is consistent across letting, managing and estate agents.

Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler said: “For too long, many people have faced incurring fees and bad service from a number of property agents. People should have confidence when buying, selling or renting a home.”

The Working Group will be responsible for advising on:

  • a model for an independent property-agent regulator, including how it will operate and how it will enforce compliance
  • a single, mandatory and legally-enforceable Code of Practice for letting and managing agents, and whether similar regulations could be provided for estate agents
  • a system of minimum entry requirements and continuing professional development for letting, managing and estate agents
  • a standardised approach for presenting transparent service charges to leaseholders and freeholders
  • an easier statutory-backed process for consumers to challenge unfair service charges
  • further measures to professionalise estate agency.

Lord Best will be joined by representatives of agents and consumers, as well as independent experts, with the group instructed to report back to government in the summer.

We shall keep clients informed of developments.

Please contact us if you would like advice about buying or selling a home, or landlord and tenant issues.

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