The policing of estate agents in the UK proposed by the final ROPA report published today by the government reveals that many non-traditional property players are to be regulated.
The Regulation of Property Agents (ROPA) working group says that it came across many property professionals and intermediaries operating beyond traditional sales, property management and lettings models.
“Some may count as property agents under existing legal definitions; others would not. We considered which of these types of agent should fall within the scope of a new regulatory regime,” says the report, which was chaired by Lord Best.
Non traditional models
Those ‘non-traditional’ models are to include auctioneers, rent-to-rent firms, property guardian providers, international property agents and online-only and hybrid agents.
“In all of the above cases, the agent, or their company’s activity, shares the essential characteristics of traditional lettings, management and sales: they are offering services as an intermediary to a property transaction,” the report says.
“Excluding any of these from the scope of regulation could create potential loopholes.”
But the working group has decided to exclude two types of property company. Retirement housing providers which manage leasehold or rental properties they have developed will not be included, nor will ‘right to manage’ companies set up by freeholders or common-holders to manage blocks of flats or developments.
The ROPA group has also decided not to include property portals within its proposed regulations, and also suggested that the laws will cover sales companies operating across the UK but only apply to lettings and property management firms operating in England.