News: Government must regulate estate agents

Thu, 16 Apr 09

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has called on the UK Government to introduce proper regulation of estate agents.

Commenting on this week’s changes to HIPs, Gillian Charlesworth, RICS Director of external affairs, said, 'RICS maintains that trying to engineer the home buying and selling process through the HIP is of limited use. RICS wants to see the Government achieve much more for home buyers and sellers in the form of a proper regulatory regime for estate agents.

'Currently anyone can set up as an estate agent, and when the market turns up, no doubt it will once again be an attractive place for the unscrupulous. We believe that much more will be achieved by regulating the practitioners, rather than trying to control the process.'

Her words annoyed agent Trevor Kent who said it was a fine time for the RICS to be ‘blathering’ on about licensing when huge changes to HIPs - resisted by the NAEA - had just been introduced.

However, her call follows similar criticisms of agents made by the Law Society.

There are currently moves afoot to regulate the estate agency industry from within.

Bill McClintock, who heads the board of the Ombudsman for Estate Agents scheme, property pundit Henry Pryor and former NAEA chief executive Hugh Dunsmore-Hardy are among a steering group of nine looking at a registration scheme. Other members include high-profile London agent Ed Mead of Douglas and Gordon, and Lucy Morton, the incoming president of ARLA.

The NAEA is also to introduce a licensing scheme for its members later this year, whilst ARLA unveils its licensing scheme for letting agents next month.

However, opponents of both initiatives - who include estate agents as well as the Law Society and RICS - say that the whole point of any licensing regime is that its credibility rests on it being a Government approved scheme which is completely independent of the industry and therefore truly objective.

Source: www.estateagenttoday.co.uk

See also: UK Estate Agents Directory

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