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News & opinion

11 NOV 2019

RICS response and involvement in the RoPA report and industry working group

In late 2018 the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) convened an expert working group led by Lord Best and including RICS, to consider future models for the regulation of residential property agency in England. The final report of the working group was released in July this year.

What is the report proposing?

The recommendations have been developed over a nine-month period, with input from a number of associations, consumer groups and regulatory bodies, alongside the devolved national administrations in Wales and Scotland, through a series of workshops and meetings.

The report makes a number of recommendations, principally these include:

  • setting up a new statutory regulator for property agents that is properly resourced, with the power to approve independent Designated Professional Bodies undertaking regulation of their members and firms;

  • making it a criminal offence to practice without a licence;

  • introducing a minimum level of qualification and continuous professional development for professionals; and,

  • developing an overarching industry code.

What does all this mean for RICS members and firms?

Clearly this will bring changes to those working in residential agency, as well as for RICS. However, we are pleased to note the clear recommendation that the new regulator should have the powers to delegate regulatory functions to designated professional bodies, where they can show they have an independent regulatory function, ethical competence, and demonstrate capacity to work in the public interest. Such an approach will avoid the unnecessary duplication of regulation for members and firms.

This is a big opportunity for the profession and we are working closely with government to ensure that we make it a success.

We are working to obtain recognition for the relevant RICS professional membership grades (chartered and associate), within the new regime. We are also developing a range of RICS vocational qualifications to meet the new licensing requirements and to provide a stepping-stone to gaining globally recognised RICS professional status.

Recognising that there will need to be a unified code, we are looking to work closely with associations, professional bodies, ombudsman and other stakeholders to combine codes and a create a single code for the new regulator to use once established.