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AIPP asks government to clarify if overseas property agents to face same regulation as UK ones

Overseas agent's association asks civil servants if foreign property agents will have to meet minimum training qualifications looming for UK estate agents.

Nigel Lewis

The organisation representing agents who sell overseas property in the UK has been to see the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in London to find out if the looming minimum qualifications to be required of UK agents will apply to its membership.

The Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) sent a group of senior industry figures including its co-founder Peter Robinson (left) and agent Louise Reynolds, who is a director of overseas agent Property Venture, to get answers from MHCLG civil servants.

Agents based here and overseas but operating in the UK have been free to sell foreign properties to Brits both via the big portals and to attend consumer property shows, as long as they adhere to the Estate Agents Act (1979), register with a Redress Scheme and adhere to Anti-Money Laundering rules. But soon agents in the UK will be required to have minimum qualifications, which is part of the government’s stated aim to regulated the industry more heavily.

Four-figure fine

One thing is for sure; agents selling overseas property in the UK are not immune from fines; an AIPP member was recently given a four-figure fine by HMRC for non-compliance with Anti Money Laundering rules.

“This is fairly typical government agency behaviour [at HMRC]; they set-out broad guidelines and put the onus on you the business owner to interpret them correctly,” says Peter Robinon.

The AIPP says their meeting at MHCLG was useful and that it was agreed that international agents would be included in the consultation on minimum agent qualifications due next year.

Consumer launch

The AIPP has also recently gone live a new organisation to support the 30,000 people who buy overseas property every year and the 1.5 million Brits who already own homes abroad, called the Alliance of International Property Owners.

Launched a few weeks ago, it has the backing of A Place in the Sun TV show presenter Jonnie Irwin (pictured, right) and Charles Weston-Baker, Savills’ former Head of International Property.

July 3, 2018

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