The Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) proposals appear pretty much dead in the water, given their absence from the government’s plans for the next year within the Queen’s Speech, a leading industry figure has claimed.
Eddie Hooker, who is CEO of Hamilton Fraser the operators of the PRS, myDeposits and CMP, believes the proposals to regulate the industry contained within RoPa produced by Lord Best and his working group are now ‘very unlikely’ to see the light of day ‘in the form previously suggested’.
As many agents will remember, during the 18 months following Lord Best’s report in July 2019, the industry reached fever pitch as many organisations including Propertymark, the IRPM, RICS and National Trading Standards heralded its regulatory framework recommendations as a ‘new chapter’ or estate agency.
These included compulsory basic qualifications for agents, licences for estate agencies and an overarching regulator for the property industry.
“The proposals within the RoPa were widely welcomed up and down the industry and championed eloquently by Lord Best and many others and on the face of it, being kicked into the long grass looks puzzling,” says Hooker.
“But the current government is very much focused on bringing fairness and transparency to the PRS for consumers rather than regulating letting agents, and looking at the Queen’s Speech, they’ve got a lot of other legislation to get through parliament as it stands.”
But Hooker says he senses that letting agents are not entirely off the regulatory hook.
“The way some of the policy briefings have been worded that we’ve been sent suggests that the government wants agents to play a greater role in ensuring their landlords understand and meet their responsibilities,” he says.