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Government urged to get on with creating regulator of property agents

22 March 2024

The Industry and Regulators Committee urges the Government to get on with establishing a regulator of property agents, four years after it committed to doing so.

In a letter to Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Committee warns that the Government’s delay is impacting tenants, leaseholders and others, who continue to be exposed to malpractice.

After hearing evidence from campaigners for leaseholders and tenants, professional bodies representing property agents, The Property Ombudsman, the Leasehold Advisory Service and National Trading Standards, the Committee has found that:

  • current forms of self-regulation, enforcement and redress in the sector are reactive or limited in scope;
  • a new regulator would make a significant difference by driving up standards in the sector and proactively enforcing against agents who engage in poor practice;
  • the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill does not sufficiently address the issues that leaseholders face and needs to be supported by greater regulation.

As a result, the Committee is calling for:

  • legislation to establish a new regulator, or, at the very least, a full published response from the Government to the report of the Working Group that recommended establishing one;
  • mandatory qualifications for property agents, including dealing ethically with consumers;
  • industry codes of practice operated by the new regulator, focused on achieving good outcomes for consumers;
  • the Government to legislate for statutory consumer representation in the sector to ensure the consumer voice is heard;
  • the Government to approve a single ombudsman for property agents, rather than two competing schemes as currently.

Chair's comment

Baroness Taylor, Chair of the Industry and Regulators Committee said:

"During our inquiry, there was near unanimous evidence from consumers, industry and existing bodies on the need for statutory regulation of property agents and the establishment of a new regulator.

“The Government has been sitting on its hands for four years by not acting on the report of the Working Group it set up. In the meantime, the impact of poor regulation is being felt by tenants and leaseholders, and the sector has been left in limbo.

“I have also expressed to the Secretary of State that we would have appreciated a minister from his department providing oral evidence to the inquiry.”

Further information

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