RoPA has no hope of becoming law as another minister rules it out

Lee Rowley MP tells a Lords Committee there was no scope in current legislation to introduce measures from RoPA committee.

Lee Rowley MP

Plans to introduce regulation of property agents are dead in the water after a second minister ruled out any action “any time soon”.

Housing Minister Lee Rowley (main picture) said it was not possible to include the measures within the RoPA report in current legislation passing through Parliament, and with a General Election looming later this year there will be no time now.

It is also unclear whether Labour would make RoPA reform a priority if it forms a government, despite pledging to do it.

Baroness Swinburne earlier told the House of Lords there was no time to introduce new regulation.

Licensing scheme

A Lords Committee had called for a regulator backed by a licensing scheme for agents, a single ombudsman and mandatory qualifications.

The Industry and Regulators Committee wrote to Housing Secretary Michael Gove urging him ‘to get on with it’.

Not the right time

But Rowley said in his reply to the committee now was not the right time.

“We do not believe this Bill [the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill ] is the right place to set up a new property agents regulatory body and the associated framework. The same applies to the Renters (Reform) Bill, given the importance of making long-overdue progress there.”

Lord Best

Nearly five years since his working group called for regulation of property agents, RoPA pioneer Lord Best told The Neg he feared the Government still didn’t see an industry regulator as a priority.

Baroness Taylor of Bolton
Baroness Taylor of Bolton

And Baroness Taylor of Bolton, Chair of the committee, added: “The Government has been sitting on its hands for four years, by not acting on the report of the working group it set up.

“In the meantime, the impact of poor regulation is being felt by tenants and leaseholders, and the sector has been left in limbo.”

Read the RoPA recommendations in full.

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