Property professionals in Plymouth say proposed Government reforms designed to root out rogue estate agents and better protect consumers can’t come soon enough.

Plymouth Area Property Professionals Associations have long added their weight to calls for tough new legislation to properly regulate the industry and have urged Ministers to make it a real priority.

Under a raft of new measures announced by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid in April, agents will be required by law to hold professional qualifications and have total transparency in terms of fees for solicitor and/or mortgage broker referrals

Central to the changes will be a commitment to cracking down on those unprofessional agents who give the industry a bad name and Ian Mitchell, Company Director at Plymouth Homes, a PAPPA member, said that has to be the real focus.

“When buyers or sellers alike use the services of a PAPPA member, they can be confident they are in the hands of independent professionals who, perhaps most importantly, are accredited by their respective industry body,” said Ian .

“Sadly, there are many working in the property industry who cannot say the same so we urge the Government to act quickly.

“While it is still possible for anyone to set themselves up as an estate agent, without either experience or qualifications, buyers and sellers alike will continue to fall foul of rogues.”

In announcing the reforms, the Housing Secretary said that delays and complications during the property sale and purchase process caused unnecessary stress, both financially and emotionally.

Under the plans, Trading Standards will be given more powers to take enforcement action against agents who fail to meet the new standards The Government also wants to crack down on gazumping and stop sales falling through by encouraging the use of voluntary reservation agreements.

Ben Dreher. Chairman of PAPPA and a Director at Mansbridge Balment Plymouth, said: “When you think that customers, about to make the biggest purchase of their lives, maybe putting their trust in an agent that has absolutely no experience or professional standing you can see why it is vital the Government makes these reforms an absolute priority,”.