PayProp: Estate agencies must continue to prepare for delayed regulations

Jessica Bird

May 19, 2020

Neil Cobbold PayProp

Automated transactional and reconciliation platform provider PayProp has warned that, although coronavirus may delay long-expected regulations, lettings and estate agencies should continue to prepare for them. 

The Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) was intended to be introduced within two years of the RoPA Report being published in the summer of 2019.

PayProp has said that this is likely to drop down the agenda due to the focus on COVID-19, but that agencies should not slip into a false sense of security.

Neil Cobbold, chief sales officer at PayProp, said: “It’s understandable that politicians and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have been prioritising the fight against coronavirus.

“This means, however, that measures like RoPA are likely to be significantly delayed.

“Still, we mustn’t think it will go away.”

The RoPA Report included recommendations for the creation of a new regulator, licensing for all agents, an updated code of practice, and mandatory qualifications.

As the industry moves out of lockdown and prepares to resume full operations, Cobbold says that building trust with consumers via high standards will be of particular importance.

He said: “Even if regulation and qualifications are not made mandatory for a few more years, the industry could still benefit by championing transparency and education voluntarily.

“Landlords and tenants will want to know that agencies are operating safely and following government advice.

“As the market moves into a new era and the pent-up lockdown demand is released, competition for business will be high.

“During this time, being transparent and communicating effectively will help agencies to stand out as the first choice for consumers.

“Consumers are likely to remember the way agents have responded to the crisis for a long time and those that have acted to the highest professional standards will be best-placed to succeed.”

Cobbold added that agents should continue to prepare for regulation, despite potential delays.

He said: “It would be a waste of time and resources to throw away any work that has already been carried out.

“Well-trained employees and high professional standards are only going to improve an agency’s quality of service and reputation with consumers.

“In the post-lockdown market, consumers will increasingly be looking to work with professional, respected agencies with the right qualifications as these firms are more likely to have the necessary safety precautions and social distancing measures in place.

“Agencies that continue to work towards meeting the RoPA requirements will therefore be able to increase their appeal during a time when trust and perception will be more important than ever.”

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