Should there be compulsory regulation for estate agents?
Of those who failed to check whether their agent was a regulated member of a professional body, only 54% said they trusted them to provide honest and truthful advice.
While all sales agents are legally bound to offer a customer redress scheme, those who are not members of a professional body are not obliged to meet minimum standards, nor are they subject to regulatory monitoring. As a result, homebuyers are potentially dealing with an agent who could be providing inaccurate advice.
Only agents who belong to a regulated professional body such as RICS are bound to a strict ethical code and obliged to meet minimum competency levels. If RICS agents fail to act in accordance with rules of conduct, they are subject to investigation and sanctions. In extreme cases, agents can lose their chartered status.
“These results show a shocking lack of consumer trust in the estate agency profession,” said Peter Bolton King, RICS Global Residential Director. “Clearly, when people are making the biggest purchase of their lives, they want to know that they can trust their agent and the advice they’re given. People who are buying or selling a house should always check that their agent is a regulated member of a professional body who abide by ethical codes.
“By using an unregulated estate agent, people are potentially dealing with someone who doesn’t understand their obligations to consumers. Although all estate agents must have a redress scheme, these only deal with complaints once something has gone wrong. This is like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. What is needed is compulsory regulation for all agents that helps to raise standards and prevent problems from occurring in the first place.”buying house, estate agents, moving house, real estate
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