New Code Of Practise Set To Raise Standards And Trust In The Industry

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and The Property Ombudsman have set up a group that will write a new estate agency Code of Practice which should be ready by the end of the year.

The group, led by Labour peer Baroness Dianne Hayter, which includes representatives from ARLA, NAEA, Propertymark and Trading Standards, will be working to developing what RICS and TPO call ‘an overarching code of conduct for residential property agents’. The Code of Practice Steering Group have stated that they “will work collaboratively and in the public interest, and those participating in the group do so voluntarily, in good faith.”.

Last year the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group called for an independent regulator, a new code of conduct, mandatory qualifications and a new form of redress more powerful than existing operators. The new Code of Practice will address one of these proposals, however RICS and TPO released in a statement that it will be prepared so that it can be ‘handed over’ to a new regulator once one has been established.

The Code of Practice will likely be a set of principles that will apply to all residential property agents, with a number of detailed sections specific to aspects of residential property agent sector, for example lettings and management.

Once a draft code has been completed, which is expected to be this month, it will go out for consultation where “feedback from users, professionals, buyers, sellers, lenders, tenants and landlords will be sought” according to RICS and the TPO.

Speaking about the new code, Baroness Hayter, who was Chair of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, said:

“The forthcoming combined code will ensure that consumers are clear what standards they should expect from property professionals, and it will enable them to be confident that all residential property agents will be held to account in meeting them.

“The independent Steering Group is undertaking this work to prepare an over-arching Code of Practice for the new regulator, very much within the public interest.  With both consumer representatives and cross-sector support and commitment to achieving this goal of a combined code, as proposed in the Regulation of Property Agents Report, it will raise standards and trust in the industry.”

Housing Minister Chris Pincher commented on the forthcoming code:

“Baroness Hayter’s appointment is an important development for property agents as they further raise standards in their industry and protect their customers. I look forward to continuing to work with all to ensure customers are treated fairly and that all agents work to the same high standards.”

 

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