Propertymark urges Government action on property agent regulation

Propertymark, the leading industry body, has contacted Housing Secretary Michael Gove, emphasising the crucial need for the regulation of property agents to enhance the delivery of the UK Government’s housing reforms.

With the Renters (Reform) Bill and the Freehold and Leasehold Reform Bill on the horizon, Propertymark sees a prime opportunity to introduce standards that would benefit the sector and consumers alike.

In early 2023, Gove advocated for mandatory qualifications for property managers in the social rented sector. Propertymark is now urging that this prerequisite be expanded to include all private-sector lettings, sales, and managing agents.

At the Labour Party Conference in October 2023, Matthew Pennycook MP pledged that a Labour Government would implement the regulatory measures recommended in Lord Best’s 2019 report.

Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, is set to present further arguments for regulatory action during the Renters (Reform) Bill Committee session on 14th November 2023.

Propertymark advocates for a comprehensive professionalisation of the sector, with agents required to achieve a minimum Level 3 qualification, engage in ongoing training and CPD, become members of a professional body, and adhere to a strict code of practice.

The organisation argues that full government-mandated regulation is the fastest and most effective way to rid the property sector of agents who lack professionalism, qualifications, and ethics.

Propertymark stresses the importance of tenants having consistent rights and protections, regardless of their housing tenure, and the assurance that their property manager is qualified and properly trained.

With approximately 46% of landlords employing the services of an agent, effective regulation is critical to ensuring that over two million households in the private rented sector (PRS) receive high-quality service and that there is consistent enforcement of standards.

The current lack of entry barriers in the property sector leads to varying service levels and an uncertain application of laws, creating confusion among consumers regarding their expectations from an agent.

Upcoming legislation such as the Building Safety Act 2022 and anticipated reforms from the Freehold and Leasehold Bill underscore the necessity for homeowners and prospective buyers to have access to competent estate and managing agents.

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, said: “Fragmented legislation is ineffective and unenforceable without comprehensive regulation ensuring basic competency standards for property agents.

“The upcoming Renters (Reform) Bill is an ideal legislative vehicle to introduce minimum qualification requirements and a statutory Code of Practice for all agents, thereby professionalising the sector and safeguarding consumers.”