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A draft code of practice for property agents has been published for consultation. Comments are required by 4 September.
The proposed code is intended as the underlying reference point for the work of a new industry regulator when he or she is eventually appointed. It was prepared by an industry-wide committee chaired by Baroness Dianne Hayter, and outlines standards designed to promote trust in the industry. It follows on from recommendations made by Lord Best in a report on Regulation of property agents published last year.
If adopted it will apply to those involved in property sales, lettings, management and auctions and will sit above more specific sector codes, such as those for estate agents and letting agents.
The code has two sections: Dealing with consumers and Managing businesses and staff. The principles apply to conduct and behaviour relating to agencies (as firms) and staff (as individuals).
Key points include a requirement that those involved are ‘fit and proper’, do not discriminate, have adequate training and hold appropriate qualifications, and must maintain adequate records to support this.
‘The new code of practice will look to set standards at a higher level than currently legally set’, explained Baroness Hayter. ‘The ambition of the code is that it will become a requirement for obtaining a licence to practice in the future, which will increase trust across the sector.
‘Input from consumers, stakeholders, interest groups and the industry is paramount to ensuring that the Code of practice is balanced, fit for purpose and meets the requirements of a future Regulator’.