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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Agency consolidation likely as regulation bites, says franchise giant

Belvoir says consolidation between lettings and sales agencies across the industry is likely to increase as a result of greater regulation by government.

The franchise giant, which yesterday reported strong figures for the first half of this year despite one month of the period being during the fees ban, says it welcomes the recent Regulation of Property Agents report.

This set out seven initiatives including licensing of agents, mandatory qualifications, new codes of conduct and a single industry-wide regulator for lettings and sales.  

“We welcome all efforts to improve standards across the sector, as Belvoir has provided its franchisees with in-depth training and has self-regulated for many years. Such increased regulation is likely to drive further consolidation and we believe that our well-trained and well-supported franchisees are best placed to respond to the impact of these changes” says a statement from the company.

To date in 2019 Belvoir has already acquired over £2.5m of turnover, and acquisitions in progress amount to further acquired turnover of over £1.8m.

Yesterday’s figures showed lettings revenue for the six months of 2019 was up 4.0 per cent on the same period of 2018, mostly thanks to the franchise giant snapping up other agencies under its Assisted Acquisitions programme.  

The Regulation of Property Agents working party recommends:

- a new independent regulator to lead a new public body to oversee a new regulatory regime for property agents; 

- the new regulatory regime will be binding on companies, and certain individuals, that act as intermediaries to property transactions; 

- those who are regulated will have to be licensed by the new regulator;

- the regulator will also be responsible for an overarching statutory code of practice, with different parts binding on agents depending on their area of work;

- a new ‘modular’ approach to qualifications, required for individuals within regulated companies “allowing agents to become proficient in those aspects of property agent work as suits the needs of their role and career, subject to minimum requirements”; and

- the new regulator is central to “a system of enforcement and redress which takes on, at their discretion, the support of national and local trading standards, of redress schemes, and of professional bodies.”

You can see a full summary of its proposals here.

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