Property News & Views
Government goes on holiday as agents go on waiting. —
28th Jul 2018
I came across this article below by Graham Norwood who writes for Estate Agent Today, giving an insight into the world of upcoming property regulation and legislation, particularly affecting the general business of estate agency. I hope you find it informative like I did. Roll on quicker house moves for starters. Peter Scott.
Its holiday time: schools have
broken up, quite a few estate agents are taking time off, and the MPs are in
recess - and in their case, they dont return to work until September 4.
You might think with six weeks away
from Parliament (albeit with plenty of constituency work, Im sure), MPs in
general and the government in particular would be tidying up any unfinished
Yet - and not for the first time -
when it comes to agency-related legislation, we are still in the dark about what
politicians have in store.
There are three major pieces of
regulation, announced some time ago yet still without a firm timetable for
Tenants Fees Bill: this is of course still going through Parliament and its Report
Stage (a part of the lengthy process for a Bill to become a Law) is set
for September 5.
so good, but just before the Parliamentary recess I asked the Ministry of
Housing Communities and Local Government if it could give a timescale for
implementation - and answer came there none.
a long-standing pledge from the government that it would come into effect next
year, and the formal move of the Bill through the Commons and the Lords is
titled Tenants Fees Bill 2017-19 - but we have nothing more specific than
that, making it difficult for letting agencies to forecast income for the
the ban on letting agents levying fees on tenants in England and Wales was
first announced in his 2016 autumn Budget statement...and we still have no
the Home Buying and Selling Process: this is the formal title of the government
probe into the sales and purchase process, embracing everything from
faster conveyancing to further estate agency regulation.
governments consultation period on this began on October 22 2017 and finished
on December 17. A summary of responses was published early in April this year -
yet little has happened since. Will there be legislation? Will it all be
considered too complex and time consuming to tackle while Brexit is going on?
Well, bluntly, we do not know.
had hints of course - NTSEAT are surveying referral fees, leading to
speculation these will be banned; further regulation and formal qualifications
are likely to be required from estate agents, according to other government
statements. Yet as to specifics, and as to timescale...well, nothing.
- A Housing
was what former Housing Secretary Sajid Javid called his desire to see a
single redress system covering all aspects of agency and other property
issues - replacing five existing redress systems, three of which apply to
announced this intention in November last year - almost nine months ago. An
eight-week consultation began on February 18 and ended on April 16.
MHCLG website says we are analysing your feedback and - it probably goes
without saying - when I asked on progress, I didnt get a response.
Is this good enough? I dont mean the
lack of response - lets face it, I probably have received a vague statement
of intention even if the MHCLG had bothered to reply.
But what I mean is...is it good
enough that a government unsettles an industry with pledges to change it
fundamentally yet takes such a long time to make its intentions clear?
You might well say that with Brexit,
its no surprise everything else takes a back seat.
Well, maybe - but its not that the
MHCLG is short of staff.
The publication Civil Service World
(dont laugh...I have to read widely for my job) says MHCLG has hired more new
starters in 2017-18 than in the previous two years combined.
The publication says there was a 17
per cent growth in MHCLG headcount.
The department said it had taken on
586 new starters in the 12 months to April this year, resulting in a headcount
increase of 312 full-time equivalent staff. In 2016-17 it recruited 268 new
starters. At the same time it managed to reduce staff turnover from 10.7 per
cent in 2016-17 to 9.8 per cent in 2017-18 says Civil Service World.
Next time you ask your accountant
about how to plug the gap left by the lettings fee ban or consider how you
might be able to release negotiators for the mandatory training which
(apparently) may be the lot of all agents...well, just ponder that departmental
Have a good summer!