Carsberg Report recommends licencing of (UK) estate agents, but that HIPs should be made voluntary
Posted by markharrison on June 16, 2008
Sir Bryan Carsberg, former head of the office of fair trading, has recommended that estate agents should become licenced, but that HIPs should be made voluntary, according to a report by the BBC.
Now, the cyncical among you might note that the report in question was funded by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the Association of Residential Landlords, and the National Association of Estate Agents – the three bodies who might, perhaps, stand the most to gain out of making agency licencing mandatory.
Standing back, it’s hard to see how markets (like the US) where mandatory licencing is prevalent did any better than the UK, or how estate agents of 5-7% (typical in Canada) would help people more than commissions of 1-2% (typical in the UK.)
Making HIPs voluntary is a more interesting recommendation – personally, I find it hard to see that the Government will do a U-Turn on this one, though it’s not really clear who (apart from HIP providers) is benefitting. Certainly, given the rollout of Energy Performance Certificates to Landlords due on the 1st October, this government doesn’t feel like a government wanting to reduce the amount of form-filling.
The agency licencing one, however, is one to keep an eye of – sources close to Julie Rugg, who has been commissioned by the Housing Minister to write a report, are suggesting that she may be leaning to recommending that landlords / letting agencies should be licenced. (Possibly on an either/or basis, so that unlicenced landlords have to use licenced letting agencies, but that licenced landlords can let directly.)
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/laenulfean/ – used under Creative Commons licence.