Training standards are an integral part of many workplaces. Training gives employees an opportunity to widen and strengthen their skills while demonstrating a defined career development plan. Recent government recommendations have explained that the letting industry is one industry that would benefit from regulating their employee training and qualifications.
So why is it important to introduce training standards to the letting industry?
As it stands
Currently, there are no qualifications required to work as a letting agent, or indeed establish an agency. Nor are there any legal or mandatory requirements to belong to a trade association. Although many agents are voluntary members of an association, there have been concerns over some agencies who are not. With this in mind, in 2018, the government announced an initiative to investigate the introduction of training standards to this industry. RoPA (Regulation of Property Agents) released these recommendations, which also included a Code of Practice.
Why are Training Standards needed?
Consumers rely on property and letting agents, not only to have up to date industry knowledge but also to give them the correct information. Demonstrating this through accredited training and qualifications would be essential to that process, as it is of vital importance to protect consumers in the property sales and letting market.
Increasingly more people are relying on the rental market as they are unable to afford to buy their own home. Buying, selling or letting a property is considered one of life’s major events. So it is essential that those working with, and advising the general public on, matters such as property letting and property management, including property inspections and inventories, should not only have a firm grounding in current legislation but also have the most up to date information for their clients.
And with regular revisions to rules and regulations in the lettings industry, agents need to be fully aware of the legalities of property marketing and management, while being reliable and transparent in managing the financial aspects of lettings and sales.
Are Training Standards necessary?
The government expects estate and letting agents, to fall in line with other professionals they liaise with on a regular basis, such as conveyancers, chartered surveyors and solicitors. Some agents believe that such regulation offers huge potential to professionalise their sector. Giving customers confidence that they are being advised by an industry-standard qualified agent. They also believe it will attract more high-calibre staff into an industry accredited by industry-specific qualifications and skills, which are transferable if an employee wishes to move on or develop their career. While others don’t agree, citing years of industry experience and knowledge.
RoPA (Regulation of Property Agents), has advised that qualifications in the industry would be mandatory, but the full syllabus is yet to be finalised. Estate and lettings agents would require a minimum of Grade 3, (equivalent to an ‘A’ level). Directors or Senior Managers would be required to obtain a Grade 4 qualification, (equivalent to the first year of a university degree) and there will be no exemption for experience.
Some agents, who are highly knowledgable in their field, and who have many years in the industry, may find these new training standards difficult to accept. However, it is believed, that by combining specific qualifications, with regular training and skills updates, this will effectively drive up standards in the letting industry.
For those new employees, who may have no prior experience in the letting industry, the introduction of training standards is beneficial, as it will build confidence in their role. For example, the letting industry is increasingly using digital software for a property inspection, such as property management software, so training programs in such digital software would be beneficial.
Although concerns have been voiced over employees needing to re-qualify for work they have probably had decades of experience in, many have welcomed this government initiative to professionalise their industry.
Training standards in the letting industry have fallen behind many other professions, so in the future, they will be required to have similar accredited standards to other professional bodies, who work with the public on a regular basis. Accredited transferable qualifications will also allow employees to invest in and develop their own careers, or in the event of a move to another agency, have a recognised career development plan to take with them. While public confidence will be satisfied, in a sector that oversees considerable amounts of money, in the sales and lettings of properties, with the establishment of an overarching Code of Practice.
In order to raise the bar across the industry as far as property inspections and inventory providers are concerned, in comes the importance of InventoryBase Academy.
We launched the Academy and its associated CPD accredited courses to invite those coming into the profession to become trained to a fantastic standard. In turn, this will boost the level of services and expectations across the industry as a whole.
If there’s a job to be done, make sure it’s done properly!
All courses are available online at InventoryBase Academy.