- rogues could be gazzumped by the law
Time is running out for dodgy estate agents. The campaign for stricter mandatory
regulation to run them out of business is attracting more supporters.
Lenders are the latest to support the Move It campaign launched by the Consumers'
Association, in March following the report on estate agency by the Office
of Fair Trading (OFT). The Association's journal Which? called the OFT's
conclusions "woefully inadequate".
The OFT's recommendations, made after a two-year investigation, were that
agents should use plain English in contracts and keep written record of offers.
That's just not enough to rid the industry of rogue traders as far as the
Consumers' Association is concerned. Nick Stace, director of Which? Campaigns,
adds, "Which? is stepping in where the OFT has failed to ensure people get
adequate protection when making the biggest purchasing decision of their
The Move It campaign is asking for mandatory regulation of estate agents
to replace self-regulation and an immediate review of the Estate Agency Act,
which was last modified 25 years ago. Which? says that the current
self-regulatory system in which agents monitor themselves is just not working.
Move It has already attracted the support from The Royal Institute of Chartered
Surveyors (RICS) and now the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), representing
about 98% of lenders, has put its weight behind it. The CML also wants the
Department of Trade & Industry to reject the OFT's recommendations and
introduce mandatory regulation of estate agents.
CML director general Michael Coogan said, "In an environment where everyone
else involved in the transaction will be regulated - the conveyancer, the
surveyor, the broker, the mortgage lender - it is ironic that the estate
agent, who is in many ways the most important player in determining the outcome
of the house sale, is the only professional who does not have to meet stringent,
compulsory standards. This situation cannot be right."
Give it a go yourself
Anyone can set themselves up as an estate agent. To prove the point, Nick
Stace recently registered his own estate agency in London, even though he
is completely untrained. Unlike other industries, there are no minimum standards
of competency for estate agents. This is something both RICS and Which? want
to change with minimum levels of competency introduced. However, right now
this untrained and fairly unregulated bunch manage to earn £4 billion
in fees from the 1.8 million of us who move home each year!
Halifax, which has its own estate agency business, said that estate agents
should be regulated in the same way that mortgages are regulated. It added
that it has been vigorously campaigning for transparency and compulsory
membership of the estate agency ombudsman scheme, which would give us as
homebuyers and sellers redress should we be dissatisfied with a service from
an estate agent.
At the moment, the majority of estate agents do not belong to any kind of
professional body nor do they use a code of practice. Only about one-third
adhere to a code of practice through membership of the National Association
of Estate Agents (NAEA), RICS or the ombudsman scheme for estate agents.
Even the NAEA has said that it was disappointed with the recommendations
by the OFT. It wants to see more agents become members of the NAEA and join
the ombudsman scheme. It is also running a national advertising campaign
encouraging people to use only NAEA-accredited agents.
The ball is now in the government's court whether to introduce mandatory
regulation and reject the OFT's proposals.
NOT OBTAIN OUR MAXIMUM BUILD PLANNING
New simple to understand
Planning Guide... "Puts dozens of strategies & risk assessments procedures
that you should be completing BEFORE you present a scheme for formal Planning
Approval in the UK." (Order your 'ebook' today & find out how the
'Professional Planning Consultant' prepares a scheme for residential development
PRIOR to formally submitting an extension scheme or full site redevelopment
to the Planners!).
Obtaining Planning Permission
for residential development in either extending your property or redeveloping
the site for new dwellings needs careful presentation & a risk assessment
prior to submitting for Planning Consent. A badly presented scheme to the
Planning Department by the Novice home owner can lead to an Automatic Rejection
& a Planning Refusal that could be hard to overturn. Our MAXIMUM BUILD
Guide will assist you in assessing your sites potential & what areas
you can exploit prior to submitting your scheme for Planning
to find out more about our guide
STEP - THE BUILDING REGULATIONS - OBTAINING BUILDING CONTROL
To compliment our Planning
Guide we have also produced a UK specific Specification Manual solely aimed
at the domestic/residential side of building. Are you completing your
own drawing plans for the Building Regulations as well? Why not obtain our
'Specification Manual' to assist you with obtaining Building Regulations
Approval as well. Alternatively you may have already secured Planning
Approval & just need this document.
here to find out more about our Specification
Please note that articles on this site do not constitute regulated
financial advice, which recommends a course of action based upon the specifics
of your personal circumstances. The articles are intended to provide general
personal financial information. We urge you to consult an Independent Financial
Adviser (IFA) before making any important decisions about your finances.
Call 0800 085 3250 for details of IFAs in your local area. Any statement
regarding financial services products and tax liability is based on legislation
and tax practices as at 1 January 2004, which is, of course, subject to
change.The value of any tax benefits or reliefs depends upon the individual
circumstances of the investor.When investment performance is mentioned you
should remember that past performance is no guarantee of future performance.
Where products have an underlying investment content, in many cases the value
of the investment can fall as well as rise. For with-profit based investments,
there is no guarantee as to the level of bonuses that will be declared, if
any. Where mortgages or secured loans are explained do remember that your
home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loan
secured on it. All mortgages are subject to underwriting, status and are
not available to people under the age of 18.
Return to main Planning