A property industry initiative to raise standards and enhance consumer protection has been launched by The Property Standards Board (PSB), in association with RICS, ARLA and the NAEA.
Its aim is to provide a focal point for the residential property sector to come together for a common purpose by establishing and endorsing universal standards in residential property services and enhancing the consumer experience in buying, selling and renting property.
The Property Standards Board was created in response to Sir Bryan Carsberg’s 2008 report into residential property.
Sir Bryan recommended that a body should be established to set standards in the industry and lead on providing better information to property consumers. The bodies’ plan is to gain Government approval for the Board to become the universal setter of standards across the sector.
Independent Board Chairman, Dr Dianne Hayter said: “Establishing common and consistent standards for all estate and letting agents is an essential step in the growth of consumer protection in this sector.
“The PSB will seek to develop an industry-driven solution, with independent oversight, such that regulation can be industry-sensitive, flexible and responsive, low cost and with a consumer-facing mission to raise service standards. We hope that everyone, including government and consumer bodies will help us in this ambitious project.”
Support for the approach has come from across the sector, with government representatives and leading industry players joining the Chairman to speak at the launch. Agent Ed Mead of London firm, Douglas & Gordon, said: “I welcome this initiative as the next logical step in introducing a joined up approach to standards and service across our sector. If the responsible parts of the industry get behind this initiative we should be able to squeeze out those who give us a bad name.”
Although RICS, ARLA and NAEA have led the initiative to date, the organisations are keen to ensure that the Board becomes independent of the bodies as soon as possible while including all those who share its aims.
The Board has consulted on its terms of reference and issued a principles-based code for sales agents. It now plans to work with bodies in the lettings and management sectors on codes for those aspects of property agency.
The current Property Standards Board Consists of: Dianne Hayter, former Chief Executive of the European Parliamentary Labour Party and consumer champion, Steven Gould (RICS), David Dalby (RICS), Liz Richards (NFOPP), Geoff Doble (Thamesview), Noel Hunter (Trading Standards), Mike Jones (NAEA), Bill McClintock (Ombudsman for Estate Agents), Lucy Morton (ARLA), Bronwen Still (Solicitors Regulation Authority) and Laura Simons (RICS Regulatory Board).