This article was originally published on 8 April 2020. Although we endeavour to keep our coronavirus (COVID-19) content as up to date as possible, the situation is rapidly changing, so please ensure you refer to gov.uk for the latest advice and information.
“I'm looking forward to remote working. I'll be able to communicate with my landlords and tenants, and they don't need to come to the office to sign contracts. I think it's the way forward,” says Darshan Sunger, Managing Director of Essex-based letting agency Three Oaks.
In adapting to this new approach, agents can use the time working from home to plan ahead, and Three Oaks is looking to the regulatory changes on the horizon. “I always try to keep up to speed with what's happening in our industry. It’s evolving very fast, and there's new legislation coming out every single day,” says Sunger.
As a licensed ARLA PropertyMark Agent and ARLA PropertyMark Representative for the Essex region, with 21 years experience in the lettings industry, Sunger is well placed to offer guidance. He highlights the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group (RoPA) to the government to professionalise the industry. He explains that agents will need a level three qualification and directors are recommended to take a level four qualification. If they don’t qualify, they “won’t be able to give advice over the phone or through emails or letters.”
These are online qualifications - an ideal remote-working project for agents who want to get ahead. Sunger has already stepped up his game before the qualifications become mandatory. “I took it upon myself to go out there and get the level three qualification. I'm now halfway through doing my level four,” he says.
Three Oaks made the active decision to meet these standards, despite having no set date for when they will be officially introduced. “We're self-regulated agents because we choose to be - because we want to make sure people get the very best advice and service from us,” says Sunger.
However, Sunger predicts that not all agents will want to commit to the two or three years required to qualify. “Some agents have a vast amount of experience, but they don't want to go back to school. So they'll end up selling their business or leaving the industry.”
This will open the door to the younger generation to move into the gap. “They can work and learn at the same time, and, if they work hard, they can gain a qualification for life.”
Oh Goodlord Limited is an Appointed Representative of Goodlord Protect Limited for general insurance products and credit broking. Goodlord Protect Limited is directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, registration number 836727. You can check this information on the Financial Services Register by visiting www.fca.org.uk/register or by telephoning 0800 111 6768 (Freephone) or 0300 500 8082 from the UK. The FCA is the independent watchdog that regulates financial services.