A recent survey by Which? Magazine revealed that 85% of landlords who use an agent are satisfied with the service provided but that only 67% of tenants were satisfied with the way that an agent has repaired or maintained their home. Last week the government announced plans for a working party to raise standards across the property agent sector, to investigate ways for improving conditions for both landlords and tenants and ensure that they are better supported and that standards are being met.
The new group will make recommendations for supporting homebuyers, sellers, landlords, leaseholders and tenants so that they all have the best service possible. Chaired by Lord Best, the group comprises experts from across the property sector who will consider options – including whether to guide agents with an independent regulator and code of practice or mandatory professional qualifications – so that tenants, landlords and homebuyers can be confident that they are getting a professional service and are being fairly charged.
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 there are still a lot of ‘rogue’ landlords and agents who do not adhere to any standards and many tenants and homebuyers are suffering as a result.
Speaking about the announcement, Housing Minister, Heather Wheeler MP explained why the group had been set up and what they proposed to do:
“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.
“Lord Best’s wealth of knowledge will provide a valuable insight and help us make necessary changes to ensure consumers have confidence when buying, selling, letting or renting their home.
“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 summer 2019.”
Lord Best also spoke about the decision and what he hoped to achieve with the group:
“There have been calls for tighter, fairer regulation of property agents from those representing tenants, landlords and agents themselves.
I am delighted to work with government, industry and consumers to advise on how we can accomplish this in practice, and I look forward to our working group achieving real progress together.”
Are you a landlord, tenant or homebuyer? Do you think a code of practice and greater regulation is a good idea? Let us know in the comments section below.