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Government to crack down on rogue estate agents

New measures will be introduced to professionalise the estate agent market, which the government hopes will drive up standards and bring an end to ‘rogue managing agents’

According to government research, more than 6 out of 10 buyers and sellers have experienced stress, and around a quarter of sellers said they would use a different estate agent if they were to go through the process again.

Currently, anyone can practice as an estate agent, and there are approximately 20,000 estate agent businesses across the country.

The changes will mean that estate agents will now be required to hold a professional qualification and to be transparent about the fees they receive for referring clients to solicitors, surveyors and mortgage brokers.

They will also be required to provide up up-to-date lease information for a set fee and to an agreed timetable which will end the current situation where leaseholders are at the mercy of freeholders and their agents.

New buying and selling guides will also be published to ensure customers are better informed of the process and know what questions they should be asking estate agents.

The government will also set up a working group to bring industry and partners, such as HM Land Registry, together to look at developing innovative digital solutions to speed up the home buying and selling process.

Housing secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘Buying a home is one of the biggest and most important purchases someone will make in their life. But for far too long buyers and sellers have been trapped in a stressful system full of delays and uncertainty.

‘So we’re going to put the consumers back in the driving seat. We will require estate agents to hold a qualification so that people are no longer at risk from a minority of ‘rogue agents’ and can trust the process when buying or selling their home.’

Mark Hayward, chief executive, NAEA Propertymark said: ‘We particularly welcome the commitment to further regulation – we have long argued that estate agents should be recognised as professionals, this is an important step towards achieving this and we look forward to working with the government.’

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