The new estate agency Code of Practice revealed in July this year is due to be signed, sealed and delivered to Ministers in less than four months’ time, The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has revealed.
Covering all the estate agency disciplines including sales, lettings and property management, TPO’s Director of Policy Peter Habert told a Zoom gathering of senior figures that the plan is to have a finalised copy ready for the new Regulator by the end of March.
Unlike its sales, lettings and other sector counterparts which had little regulatory bite, the new over-arching code will be used by the soon-to-be announced regulator to ban agents if their code transgressions are deemed serious enough.
The code will cover sales, lettings, property management, auctions, rent-to-rent operators and property guardians.
Since the TPO/RICS steering group on the code proposals published the first draft in July a consultation has been underway that finished in early September.
Habert (left) says this received over 500 mostly positive suggestions and comments, and the TPO/RICS group will now respond to them before nailing down a final draft.
Also at the meeting was new ombudsman Rebecca Marsh, who said TPO had seen a rise of complaints against agents during the pandemic, but said it was still very low compared to the total number of transactions in the market.
“Building on TPO’s previous ‘raising standards’ agenda, I plan to widen this and look at how trust and confidence can be improved within the sector,” she said.
“This is something for all agents to consider and an invitation for me, as an Ombudsman, to get to know those who rarely see a complaint escalated to us.”