An OSWESTRY rural estate agent boss has welcomed new measures to professionalise estate agencies in England in order to bring rogue agents to an end.

Richard Corbett, from Roger Parry & Partners, based in Salop Road, believes the move by Housing Secretary, Sajid Javid, will drive up standards and rogue estate agents.

The move, announced last week, comes after government research showed more than six out of 10 buyers and sellers have experienced stress, and around a quarter of sellers said they would use a different estate agent if they were to go through the process again.

"We very much welcome this news and we will embrace the new measures when they come in," said Mr Corbett. "We ensure all of our estate agents, across mid Wales and Shropshire, are fully qualified and members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

"For many years we have had to compete against these sorts of rogue estate agents on an unfair playing field. We have always said that estate agents should be recognised as professionals in the same way as solicitors and accountants."

Estate agents in England will now be required to hold a professional qualification and to be transparent about the fees they receive for referring clients to solicitors, surveyors and mortgage brokers.

Other measures to make the system easier, faster and more transparent include: encouraging the use of voluntary reservation agreements to help prevent sales falling through and crack down on gazumping; setting a timeline for local authority searches so buyers get the information they need within 10 days.

Also, requiring managing agents and freeholders to provide up-to-date lease information for a set fee and to an agreed timetable which will end the current situation where leaseholders are at the mercy of freeholders and their agents; strengthening the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team so they can carry out more enforcement activity which includes banning agents.

As a result of the new measures guides on ‘How to Buy’ and ‘How to Sell’ will be developed and published to ensure customers are better informed of the process and know what questions they should be asking.

The government will also work with consumer groups and industry to develop a consistent set of performance metrics for conveyancers, so consumers can make a more informed choice.