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Labour call for agents’ qualifications is “laughable" and "silly”

A law professor has dismissed a Labour call for agents to have qualifications as “eye poppingly silly” and “snobby.”

Labour’s shadow housing minister Matthew Pennycook has tabled an amendment to the government’s Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill retiring the regulation of all agents. 

Specifically, Pennycook wants to prohibit anyone from working as an agent without at least one A-level, or managing an agency unless they have a degree.


Now Andrew Tettenborn, a professor of law at Swansea University, writes on the website of right wing political magazine The Spectator, that the idea “is so eye-poppingly silly, and the arguments against it so obvious, that it is hard to understand anyone putting it forward with a straight face.”

He cites a possible scenario amongst people applying for promotion in an agency, and writes: “Left school without A-levels, interested in property and want to learn on the job? Sorry, not allowed: you’re unqualified. But if you scraped an E in Art or Physical Education on the retake? That makes all the difference: welcome aboard the real estate gravy train.”

Tettenborn says there is a further indirect problem, and that is there are already - in his words - “way too many people at university, not because of a burning desire to study but because they have been told to go there, or because they see a degree as necessary to getting a job.”

The writer says Pennycook’s idea comes from the Regulation of Property Agents report by Lord Best, delivered back in 2019 and still being considered by the government. But Tettenborn dismisses the RoPA call for qualifications as “laughable”.

And he says: “What one really suspects lies behind this proposed amendment is two other factors. One is a politician’s desire to massage professional vanity. Professional bigwigs naturally tend to respond positively to proposals whose effect is to inflate their own self-importance and keep out the riff-raff … The second is, quite simply, intellectual snobbery. Labour, remember, is increasingly the party, not of the traditional worker, but of the credentialled classes.”

You can see the complete article here, but for some readers it may be behind a paywall.

  • icon

    What are Matthew Pennycook’s qualifications?🤔

    Why do MPs lack common sense 🤔

  • Barry X

    Before worrying about agent "qualifications" what about relevant qualifications for MPs and also for people to run "charities"?

  • icon
    • S S
    • 30 January 2024 09:22 AM

    As an agent who supports qualifications - we are ARLA, NAEA and RICS we'd like to see qualifications for agents. There are rogue agents out there who dont know what they are doing and they smear the good agents with their lack of professionalism.
    To sell a mortgage you need to have a qualification, to perform conveyancing you need to have a mortgage but any Tom, Dick or Harry can set and rent your house tomorrow with no qualifications!
    A young trainee of ours who we put through NAEA qualifications went off to London to a "respected" agency, when he asked if they would pay for his professional membership (£180pa) they refused. Attitudes like that dont help the professionalism of the industry.

  • icon

    Pennycook - What a naïve, silly, foolish thing to say - it betrays a lack of any common sense - typical of some of the gormless MP's


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