Independent redress plans step in the right direction says NAEA

The National Association of Estate Agents has welcomed plans to bring forward legislation to provide improved arrangements for consumer advocacy and for the regulation of estate agents, as announced in the Queens speech today.

A background note issued by the Department of Trade and Industry expanded upon the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Bill referred to by the Queen. The bill will require all estate agents to join a redress scheme and will strengthen the regulation requiring agents to keep records for inspection by Trading Standards.

The NAEA has been calling on the government to introduce industry-wide redress for some time. This latest move is a positive step forward. The Association warns, however, that after-the-event compensation is not enough on its own and that prevention methods must be considered.

Charles Smailes, president at the NAEA, says: This is clearly a step in the right direction. It is important for consumers to feel secure in the fact that they will receive some form of compensation if they are unfortunate enough to suffer at the hands of malpractice.

What is equally important, however, is to do everything possible to stop the malpractice happening in the first place. Agents who are members of an industry body, such as the NAEA or the OEA for example, are bound by a Code of Conduct. We would like to see the government make it compulsory for all agents to be a member of a regulatory body. What we hope is that todays proposed legislation is the first step towards improved regulation of the industry and we would be pleased to work closely with the government to take this forwards.

We also believe it is vital for the government to address the very important and growing area of property lettings. The residential lettings market sees a much higher turnover than residential sales, which means there is more opportunity for things to go wrong. We would like to see the redress legislation covering consumers who are renting property as well as those who are buying and selling.