Government to tackle ‘rogue’ estate agents

Government to tackle ‘rogue’ estate agents

The Government has announced plans to crack down on the problem of ‘rogue’ estate agents. Chief among its proposals will be a requirement for operators within the industry to hold a professional qualification.

The plan was announced by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, among a raft of other measures, including a mini-overhaul of the property transaction process to put an end to ‘stressful’ delays.

At present, anybody can set themselves up as an estate agent, with just a minority said to be causing problems for sellers. The Government estimates there to be 20,000 estate agents throughout the country.

The plans were welcomed by Mark Hayward, the chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, who said: “We have been campaigning for a more professional estate agent market for years, and are really pleased the Government is committing to this.

“Our research has found that the process of buying a home is more stressful than starting a new job, undertaking home renovations or planning a wedding, so it’s important that agents are well-informed and professional, to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible.

“We have long argued that estate agents should be recognised as professionals. This is an important step towards achieving this and we look forward to working with the Government.”

Further measures announced include encouraging buyers and sellers to sign lock-in agreements to prevent ‘gazumping’ (where a purchase falls through because the seller accepts a higher offer elsewhere); more powers for Trading Standards to tackle unreliable agents; and new buying and selling guides to ensure consumers are informed and aware of the questions they should be asking.