In a surprise announcement at the weekend, housing secretary Sajid Javid has revealed plans to tackle the problems of rogue estate agents and gazumping with a raft of changes being introduced by the Government.
Under the new rules, all estate agents will be required to required to hold a professional qualification in order to legally sell a property. This means the estimated 20,000 estate agents in the UK will need to get compliant, an act that should push many rogue agents out of the picture.
In addition, managing agents will also be required to reveal any fees they receive for recommending customers to mortgage brokers, surveyors, and solicitors. This means both buyers and sellers will have a much clearer picture of whether an agent is purely recommending a service due to the commission they receive for doing so.
Lock-In Agreements To Be ‘Encouraged’
Lock-in agreements with financial penalties for pulling out of a sale or purchase after it’s been agreed are also on the cards, a move that should make the whole process of buying a house much simpler and significantly reduce instances gazumping. However, it appears such agreements will be voluntary rather than legally required, at least for now.
Mr Javid said: “Buying a home is one of the biggest and most important purchases someone will make in their life. But for far too long buyers and sellers have been trapped in a stressful system full of delays and uncertainty.
“So we’re going to put the consumers back in the driving seat.”
To help ease the burden on buyers and sellers, there are also plans in place to introduce ‘How to Sell’ and ‘How to Buy’ guides to help ensure consumers are more aware of how the process works.
In a move that should help to speed up the conveyancing process, local authorities will also be put under pressure to speed up their response times to search report requests and deliver results within 10 days of receiving the request.
You can view the full press release from the Government here.