ARLA Propertymark CEO David Cox answered questions on what the proposed regulation of property agents could entail in Goodlord's legislation webinar.
What do the recommendations for the regulation of property agents include?
There are three key aspects: Letting agents will require a licence to operate and so will agencies. There will be an overarching code of practice for the industry and a new regulator.
What do you think the licence for agents will involve?
There will be a level three qualification and continuing professional development (CPD). you will have to do a set number of hours of accredited CPD each year. The regulator will set how many hours need to be done on which topics and there will be approved training providers who will provide accredited CPD.
Will this apply to everyone working in an agency?
You will need a licence if undertake what are known as “reserved activities”. If you're not undertaking a reserved activity, you don't need to be qualified. Take the example of a law firm - a solicitor undertakes the reserved activities and is trained, qualified and has a licence to practice, but paralegals and legal secretaries don’t need to be qualified because the solicitor is the one undertaking the reserved activity, and is checking and signing the documents.
Will this regulation only apply to residential agents and agencies or does this also apply to commercial and auction?
It will apply to residential sales, residential renting and residential auctions. commercial is outside the scope of the report.
What do you think the licence for agencies will involve?
It will be very similar to ARLA Propertymark’s membership criteria. You'll need to have Client Money Protection, be a member of a property redress scheme, etc, in order to have a licence to practice.
Will agencies who have already invested time and money into qualifications have to pay to take these again?
I don't think you've got too much to worry about with that one. The recommendation is that agents operating in sales, lettings and auctioneering have a level three qualification, those in block management have a level four and the same for business owners and managers.
If you have got or are doing an OFQUAL regulated level three, you should be fine. You might have to do a top up module, which will probably be very low cost later down the line just to evidence that you have kept up to speed with the law - it might be CPD, it might be a questionnaire - we don't know yet. It's going to be set by the regulator. But you will need to prove that you've kept up to speed, like you would in any other industry.