And Can The New Apprenticeships Help?
The concept of mandatory property and housing qualifications for employees working within the housing and property management sector has been long discussed and expected, yet largely ignored for some time now, but following high profile and devastating incidents like Grenfell, it took a giant leap forward this week.
Speaking at the Property Ombudsman Conference, Lord Richard Best, who is the chair of the government’s Regulation of Property Agents working party, ROPA, announced that it is highly likely there will be a new industry regulator in place, within the next two years and that mandatory property qualifications for employees working within the property and housing sector will follow.
Lord Best was unable to be specific, but time scales are imminent, based on recommendations being presented to the Housing Minister this week (Monday 15 July 2019).
Broadly the recommendations are that:
- Every “consumer facing” agent or representative would have to hold a qualification (“Consumer Facing” is very broad and encompasses anybody dealing directly with people who buy products or services)
- Longevity in a role or previous experience is likely to be overlooked meaning that everyone consumer facing at any level in a company will need to hold a qualification.
- Qualified employees would then hold a licence and only licence holders would be able to engage in “reserved activities” – Likely to be the core activities of selling and letting.
- A code of practice as agreed by several trade bodies would then be in place.
Tellingly, Lord Best was asked if he thought these measures would put some agents out of work and responded that unless companies adapted to the changes – then yes.
The good news for the sector is that there are already newly developed property and housing apprenticeships that have been developed by property and housing specialists, that are available now and are 95% funded by the government.
The Apprentice Academy launched their Level 3 Housing and Property Management Apprenticeship in June 2019. The development programme is aimed at new recruits and existing employees working within estate and letting agents, block management or housing associations and incorporates the credible IRPM / ARLA accreditations. For more info click here: https://theapprenticeacademy.co.uk/apprenticeships/housing-property-management/
It’s a government funded 18-month development programme, so enrolling employees now, ensures savvy organisations are prepared for the changes ahead.