Q. I’ve recently heard the Government are planning to bring out some kind of licensing for Estate Agents is this true?

A. Yes correct, for some time now the NAEA has been looking to license Agents and finally it seems there cry for help has been heard as at long last the Government plans to bring out a license for estate agents which will help to protect first time buyers and other property purchasers from unethical agents, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has stated. The new licensing scheme is aimed at protecting consumers from unqualified estate agents. Patrick Bullock, chair of the London NAEA, commented that while other professionals, such as nurses, lawyers and taxi drivers, are required to have licenses for their work, estate agents are relatively free to operate without regulation.”There are laws and things we have to comply with, and the Office of Fair Trading can enforce those, but the point is that we are just about the only country where you don’t have to show you are qualified to be an estate agent,” he explained. The NAEA’s license will therefore drive more customers to look for licensed estate agents, with the view to using market forces to expand the regulatory system to all estate agent practices. The launch of the new scheme means an estate agent will need to have the necessary level of professional indemnity insurance, be bound by the NAEA agents’ rules of conduct and commit to undertaking 12 hours of training on the latest developments every year. Those who are found to be breaking the rules could end up at a tribunal, or thrown out of the scheme. Until now unfortunately it has been all too easy for just about anyone to set up their own agency without any kind of regulation, license or professional backing or qualification and sadly many buyers  that are new to the property market have had their fingers burnt by unscrupulous agents practicing unethically and without any kind of retribution for era. Since the horror stories of Landlords disappearing with tenant’s dilapidation deposits and the long awaited registering of tenant’s deposits became compulsory it seems the industry as a whole has now embraced intervention. Certainly Agents that are already qualified members of the NAEA  welcome this long awaited licensing by the government too as they feel the industry still lacks this kind of professional stamp of approval. It’s true to say that many Agents choose to become qualified members off their own backs to give their business the stamp of approval that many property buffs would look for, and to give their business the edge that perhaps other Agents don’t see the need for. Having a government license would definitely sharpen up the industry as a whole so that its regulated like most other professional industries are. I for one embrace the idea to give both the consumer the protection and service they deserve as well as give the industry the professional stamp of approval that it still lacks.