RICS joins with property bodies to protect the consumer against cowboy agents (UK)

RICS has combined with a number of trade associations, redress schemes and consumer champions to improve standards in residential property.

A new body, The Property Standards Board, which is to be launched today in Central London, has been created by RICS, the NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) and ARLA (Association of Residential Lettings Agents) to set standards across residential property. It will develop codes of practice for estate agents, lettings agents and property managers and become a focal point for better consumer information on buying, selling and renting property.

The initiative is the bodies' response to Sir Bryan Carsberg's 2008 report into residential property. RICS believes that common and consistent standards for residential agents are long over due and supports attempts to seek government endorsement of the Board, giving it power to set standards for all property agents.

Commenting Gillian Charlesworth, RICS director of external affairs said: "It is clear that the HIP has failed to improve the consumer's experience of buying and selling homes. We believe that the introduction of basic standards for all agents will provide consumers with better service and better information on what to expect from agents they come across in property transactions. Home purchase and renting are far too important in people's lives to be left to a sector with no commonly applied and enforced standards and where anyone can set up shop. We want the industry to do this for itself but look to government and consumer bodies to help us to make it happen."

Source: RICS

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