A licensing scheme which aims to protect home buyers and sellers from unqualified estate agents has been launched.
The industry body behind the scheme, the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), anticipates that the move will bolster the generally poor reputation of estate agents by acting as a badge of honesty.
The UK doesn’t currently require an estate agent go through formal checks or hold any specific qualifications when setting up their business. The new scheme, however, offers a licence to those who adhere to a strict code of conduct and attend training sessions on the latest developments in the sector, as well as holding a recognised qualification.
“We would like all sellers and buyers to ask their prospective agents if they have a licence, said NAEA chief executive Peter Bolton King. If they do not, they should ask themselves whether that is the best place to market their property.”
Those who break the rules could be thrown out of the scheme and eventually end up at a tribunal, where fines can be levied of up to £5,000 for each rule that is breached.
Michael Jones, president of the NAEA, said that the launch of the scheme would not stop the association from calling on the government to lay down formal regulation as in the case of solicitors and other professionals in the house-buying industry.
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(article sourced from BBC News, 17 November 2010)