Northamptonshire estate agency Danelaw Real Estate has caused a stir by asking the property industry whether estate agents and their staff should be licenced.
To date, nearly 400 people have completed the LinkedIn poll, which asks: ‘should UK estate agents be licensed as they are in the US?’.
So far 80% of those people have voted in favour, while a fifth said ‘no’ and 5% have said ‘maybe’. Add your own vote here.
The poll will be food for thought in the corridors of power – the government says it is still considering how to implement Lord Best’s Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) report, 26 months after it was delivered to Ministers.
Its recommendations include proposals to make all sales and lettings agents in the UK go through a licensing process, with agents who misbehave being stripped of their ‘licence to operate’.
Danelaw MD David Kutas says he created the poll because his firm frequently works with US, Canadian and Australian agents, who are generally appalled by the lack of licensing and regulation for their UK counterparts.
“After broaching the subject with a number of other people in the industry, I heard very different opinions on the subject.
“I have always been strongly in favour of creating a standardised property industry licence as a barrier to entry to selling homes, in order to improve the ever declining reputation of the industry and improve standards.
“With larger numbers of agents choosing the self-employed model, it seems to me that a proof of knowledge of the industry will become increasingly desirable.”
Kutas says the final straw was seeing a contact who had no property sales experience or qualifications, nor had ever purchased their own home, be taken on as a “luxury central London estate agent” on a self-employed basis.
“This person is now actively offering sales advice and valuations across the city, despite the fact that only two weeks prior they called me up to ask what the difference was between freehold and leasehold,” adds Kutas.