New rules are to be introduced requiring all estate agents to hold a professional qualification.
The government is introducing the laws in an attempt to crackdown on ‘rogue’ agents and will require them to disclose the fees they receive for referrals to mortgage brokers, solicitors and surveyors.
As part of the plans, housing secretary Sajid Javid will encourage the use of voluntary reservation agreements to help prevent sales falling through; government figures found that about 250,000 home sales fall through each year.
He says: “Buying a home is one of the biggest and most important purchases someone will make in their life. But for far too long buyers and sellers have been trapped in a stressful system full of delays and uncertainty. So we’re going to put the consumers back in the driving seat.”
Measures to end gazumping were also outlined, while a 10 day deadline for local authority searches was also planned.
As part of the rules, managing agents and freeholders will have to provide up-to-date lease information for a set fee and an agreed timetable laid out.
Emoov.co.uk founder and chief executive Russell Quirk says of the measures: “For far too long the estate agency industry has got away with providing below par standards to the detrement of those it is supposed to support and serve. Hopefully, these new regulations will go some way in raising the bar and compelling those operating below it to get their house in order.”
Homeowners Alliance chief executive Paula Higgins says: “These reforms – which the HOA called for – will go a long way to bring more certainty for homeowners and help stop sales falling through. In an industry tarnished by Wild West attitudes, these reforms will send the cowboys packing”.