Greater scrutiny of property agencies would be a win for consumers

A parliamentary working group’s recommendation that property agencies should be regulated was today welcomed by the Law Society of England and Wales.

Law Society president Simon Davis said: “Solicitors are a highly regulated profession and we have long maintained that property agencies should be subject to greater regulation.

“Whilst property agencies are not going to be held to the same standard as solicitors, it is important consumers are given more protection.

“Buying or renting a home is one of the biggest investments people make in their lives and they deserve to feel confident any property professionals involved in their purchase  and while they are living in the property  are properly regulated.”

The working group’s report contains key recommendations including:

  • the formation of a new independent property-agent regulator
  • all those carrying out property agency work should be regulated and adhere to a code of practice
  • the new regulator should be legally obligated to ensure transparency around additional charges – including leaseholder and freeholder – and potential conflicts of interest

“The call for greater transparency around additional charges is very much welcomed,” added Simon Davis.

“Many buyers enter purchases unaware that their new property might come with leasehold or freehold charges and then struggle to afford these payments.

“Providing consumers with this information as early as possible in the process will allow them to make informed decisions.

“We are keen to see the response of government to the report, in particular, how any obligations on solicitors and other professionals to report evidence of possible illegal behaviour by agents to the regulator might work.”

Notes to editors

Read the Regulation of Property Agents working group report

About the Law Society

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Press office contact: Ben Davies | ben.davies@lawsociety.org.uk | 020 8049 3750