3 May 2018

UNITED KINGDOM: Stricter regulations to be imposed on estate agents

In a bid to increase the protection of tenants from unreliable agents, the UK government will implement a strict code of conduct and will also seek to professionalise the estate agent market. Further to this, an independent regulator will be established to audit agents and their practices. The final code of conduct is estimated to be ready by early 2019.

If agents fail to comply with the new rules, they can expect heavy fines and can also be precluded from trading in the future. In the worst case scenario, a breach of conduct could lead to criminal prosecution.

Among other notable changes, letting and management agents will be required to obtain a national qualification in order to practice and will also be required to undergo continual training and professional development in order to keep standards high. Changes will also be implemented for leaseholders so that they are free to change their letting or management agent should they feel that they are not being treated fairly.

There is already a scheme in place for managing and protecting tenants money from their rental property (Client Money Protection Scheme) however with the new regulations it will become mandatory, meaning that all tenants will receive the same level of protection. Agents that also assist with home buying and selling will also have to be more transparent about the fees that they receive for referring clients to solicitors and surveyors, for example.

The changes are hoped to bring a more consistent level of service offered by management and letting agents and eradicate those that bend the rules and take advantage of tenants, buyers and sellers alike.

If you would like to read the latest press releases made by the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government please click here.

How does this affect the client?

Employers should take note of these changes and look at reviewing the letting agents that they are currently using to ensure that they are meeting the standards set by the UK Government.




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