The Regulation of Property Agents Working Group (RoPA) was announced on the 18th July 2019 by the Ministry of Housing. This was a report that outlined the recommendations in the industry for licensing and qualifications. They have been tasked with advising the government on how a new regulatory framework can help raise professional standards. Something that should be considered consistently and precisely to be effective in the industry for years to come.
RoPA’s reporting recommendations:
- All agencies operating a residential property business should be licensed and licensing should include a fit and proper person test for company directors.
- All staff delivering ‘reserved activities’ employed within residential agency business should be licenced and adhere to a Code of Practise
- All staff delivering ‘reserved activities’ employed within residential agency business should hold a qualification at level 3 or above
- All company directors and management agents should hold a qualification at level 4 or above
- A new regulator be appointed to oversee compliance with an overarching Code of Practise
*Reporting recommendations sourced from Propertymark
Across the UK there currently isn’t an overarching statutory regulation of private sector letting or managing agents. There isn’t any legal requirement for them to belong to a trade association, however they can submit a voluntary regulation.
The government are to consider sufficient lead-in time to give thousands of staff currently working at varying levels the time needed to pass qualifications. Also, at a cost that is affordable and relevant to the syllabus of practise.
In aims to raise the bar in the professional standards, they will see an increase in respectable property agents. It will encourage more new entries to the industry and at a higher calibre of candidates. Any apprentice at level 3 working towards completion can do so under supervision by a qualified member of staff.
However, an argument to suggest that regardless of this new regulatory body there is less and less ‘enforcement’ across the board from local Authorities. Government cutbacks, funding restrictions and importantly no urgency being placed on agency legislation, customer protection isn’t high on the priority list. How can they incentivise enforcement and where will the money come from for you to pay a licence fee, on top of new training and qualification that will be required?
In summary the impacts of RoPA on estate agency industry are as following:
- Extra costs of training
- Time spent dedicated to learning during working hours – does the employee pay for this or do the staff do this in their own time?
- The possible impacts on recruitment within the industry
- Will poaching and high demand for qualified staff cause an increase in wages and therefore direct costs to the business
Check in with each point and ensure your business is ready.
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