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November 2010

NAEA in licensing breakthrough

A LICENCE for estate agents has been introduced for the first time in a major push to raise standards in the industry.

The licence has been launched by the National Association of Estate Agents, who say more must be done to protect consumers from unprofessional agents.

A licensed estate agency branch means consumers are guaranteed that at least one agent within that branch is qualified in residential property sales, either through a formal qualification or through length of service in the industry.

Currently, there is no barrier to anyone setting up and practising as an estate agent. There is no legal requirement for estate agents to obtain the new license, leaving consumers with  clear choice over whether they choose a licensed or unlicensed agent.

Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the NAEA, said: Nobody would knowingly get into an unlicensed taxi. However, thousands of people are willing to entrust one of the most important transactions of their life to people who are not qualified or experienced.

“We would like all sellers and buyers to ask their prospective agents: ‘Do you have a licence?’. If they don’t, they should ask themselves whether that’s the best place to market their property.

“Now, with the introduction of this licence, estate agency in the UK is a two-tiered industry – those agents who are licensed and those who are not. I think the public will welcome the distinction and I believe this move will raise standards across the industry.”

Housing Minister Grant Shapps added: “This is exactly the sort of measure the housing market needs – simple and sensible changes that are driven by the industry and designed to deliver results.”