Letting Agent Qualifications Is Laughable
A law professor has dismissed a Labour call for letting agent qualifications as “eye poppingly silly” and “snobby.”
Labour’s shadow housing minister Matthew Pennycook has tabled an amendment to the government’s Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill retiring the regulation of all agents.
Specifically, Pennycook wants to prohibit anyone from working as an agent without at least one A-level, or managing an agency unless they have a degree.
Now Andrew Tettenborn, a professor of law at Swansea University, writes on the website of right wing political magazine The Spectator, that the letting agent qualifications idea “is so eye-poppingly silly, and the arguments against it so obvious, that it is hard to understand anyone putting it forward with a straight face.”
He cites a possible scenario amongst people applying for promotion in an agency, and writes: “Left school without A-levels, interested in property and want to learn on the job? Sorry, not allowed: you’re unqualified. But if you scraped an E in Art or Physical Education on the retake? That makes all the difference: welcome aboard the real estate gravy train.”
Tettenborn says there is a further indirect problem, and that is there are already – in his words – “way too many people at university, not because of a burning desire to study but because they have been told to go there, or because they see a degree as necessary to getting a job.”
The writer says Pennycook’s idea comes from the Regulation of Property Agents report by Lord Best, delivered back in 2019 and still being considered by the government. But Tettenborn dismisses the RoPA call for qualifications as “laughable”.
And he says: “What one really suspects lies behind this proposed amendment is two other factors. One is a politician’s desire to massage professional vanity. Professional bigwigs naturally tend to respond positively to proposals whose effect is to inflate their own self-importance and keep out the riff-raff … The second is, quite simply, intellectual snobbery. Labour, remember, is increasingly the party, not of the traditional worker, but of the credentialled classes.”
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