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Constant Government settings changes and interference

30/07/19
Posted by: Christopher Ruddick

The estate agency industry has recently been under “attack” from all manner of angles by ultimately the UK Government, mostly focusing on various elements of reform.

June (after a significant time) the tenant fee ban took effect, from which the industry has sought many ways to bring income back into the business to make up the shortfall.

In a majority and most simplistic case seen additional fees for landlords and increased rents.

Despite this significant change only being recent the sector has been again recently attacked by the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) working group report to bring further reform to the industry.

The changes suggested by the report taken in isolation are hugely positive and in effect aim to help improve public perception of the industry with greater levels of control.

The potential reforms include a number of areas from the setup of a licensing process alongside a new regulator to enforce the code of practice and licensing measures for all agencies.

Another important potential change is the definition of “agency” as well, which goes far beyond the normal traditional “agency” but includes hybrid and online only.

This is where the review by RoPA proves it has considered the changes happening in approach by the sector to ensure inclusion of those that are not traditional estate agents. However, it does exclude the platforms such as Rightmove, Zoopla and On the Market.

On a more personal level all those working in customer facing sales and lettings will need to get qualified in their relevant roles to Level 3, or in some cases an industry level 4 qualification, if business owners are involved in day to day negotiations.

Combine this with the recent change of PM and cabinet which in many cases will be best described as “uncertain” due to the parties involved not having a clear history within the property world.

Furthermore, you only have to look at the current impact on the market with less homes coming to market, those on the market moving a slower pace (transaction now sit at the lowest for six years) and depending on area at lower price.

The changes to the industry do have a number of positives, but is the Government (and bodies involved where necessary producing reports) trying to carry out excessive change in multiple areas too quickly?

Or put another way twiddling all the settings and not really being able to attribute those changes to one particular change, whilst in the process causing huge upheaval?

Finally, the main point of this blog, ultimately, are all these significant sector changes causing additional losses, branch closures and more job losses?

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