United Kingdom

The coming Agency Code of Practice is essential

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In July 2020, property industry bodies joined a new Code of Practice Steering Group to enact one of the key proposals from the 2019 Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) report – creating a new set of industry standards for estate and lettings agents.

Set up by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and The Property Ombudsman, the group includes panel members from ARLA and NAEA Propertymark, Safeagent, the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, the Association of Residential Managing Agents and the Property Redress Scheme. Government officials have also been invited to take part.

With experienced property professionals and industry leaders in leadership positions, we can reasonably hope that the Code of Practice will take into account the needs, challenges, requirements and responsibilities of agents on the ground.

Legislation back on the agenda (and that’s good)

As I have said previously, agents shouldn't be lulled into complacency by the delay to RoPA legislation. We can’t expect the issue of industry-wide regulation to go away. The setting up of the Steering Group places it firmly back at the top of the agenda and should be welcomed by most in the industry as it gives all of us a chance to shape the rules under which we will soon work.

During recent months, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that consumer trust and high standards of service from agents are more important than ever.

As the property sector was among the first to re-open as the national lockdown eased, agents have a massive responsibility to stay on top of government guidance while safeguarding themselves and their clients. By coming together to draw up a Code of Practice for the industry, we can demonstrate that that trust was merited.

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