THE Portsmouth Property Association has welcomed a shake-up of the estate agency sector.
New government plans to regulate the sector mean estate agents are required to hold professional qualification and be transparent about fees they receive for referring clients to solicitors, surveyors and mortgage brokers.
There is currently no mandatory regulation of estate agents and no barriers for entry.
According to the government, there are around 20,000 estate agent businesses across the country, and currently, anyone can practice as an estate agent.
Tom Holloway, right, has just entered into his second year as chairman of the PPA.
He said: ‘The selling process already has mandatory qualifications for conveyancers, mortgage advisers, solicitors and surveyors, so the reform of estate agency may be considered long overdue.
‘It’s logical for the government to bring residential estate agents, including online operators, into line with a nationally recognised and obligatory professional qualification before they do business.’
The government’s measures to ‘professionalise’ house buying include cracking down on ‘gazumping’ (when a new buyer steps in to outbid a current one) and requiring managing agents to provide up-to-date lease information for a set fee.
Publishing guides on ‘How to Buy’ and ‘How to Sell’ to ensure customers are better informed of the process was also listed.
The PPA was established 98 years ago and consists of 150 members.