The Country House Company has always been passionate about the importance of regulating the industry. Therefore it came as a relief to hear that Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler has announced that a new working group will be set up, tasked with raising standards across the housing sector; taking us a step closer to full regulation of the industry.
The working group will be headed up by Lord Best, an independent cross bencher and supported by professional bodies including ARLA Propertymark and consumer groups such as Citizens Advice. The group will look at ways to improve standards for home buyers, sellers, tenants, landlords and leaseholders.
At the moment anyone can operate as a property agent, although lettings professionals can set themselves apart from the competition, as The Country House Company years ago, by joining a membership organisation such as ARLA Propertymark. In doing so, they agree to abide by a Code of Practice and provide greater protection for tenants and landlords, including Client Money Protection and belonging to a redress scheme.
The Regulating Property Agents Working Group will be tasked with considering the case for a fully regulated industry, including mandatory qualifications for all property agents and will work towards a new framework which will be consistent across letting agents, managing agents and estate agents. Full regulation would bring the industry up to the standards already attained by ARLA Propertymark Members, making it easier for the public to understand the level of professionalism and protection offered by those working in the housing sector. This would bring increased confidence among consumers and a boost the reputation of the industry, making it more akin to the legal or accounting professions.
The introduction of mandatory qualifications, greater transparency and more accountability is to be encouraged and supported across the industry. We are professional, qualified and are members of ARLA Propertymark, and looking forward to other agents having to reach the same standard.