Agents confused over new licensing scheme


THE MAJORITY of the 5,000 applications by estate agents for licences from the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) have been returned because they are incomplete, according to Tom Lynch , chief executive of the authority.

“We are in the process of ploughing through the 5,000 applications and while we haven’t returned all of them, we have returned over 50 per cent.”

Under the Property Services Regulation Act 2011, all estate agents, auctioneers, and property management agents had to apply to the PSRA for a licence by July 6th. However, it appears that many agents have been left confused by the comprehensive level of paperwork required.

The most common omissions, according to Mr Lynch, have included forgetting to enclose the fee which is €1,000 for a sole trader or a company and €100 for an employee. “It could be that their Certificate of Incorporation is not in date, evidence of qualifications aren’t adequate, or they haven’t provided the appropriate level of Professional Indemnity Insurance,” says Mr Lynch.

Passport photographs, and tax clearance certificates are also among the documentation required. “This has been the most radical change for the industry since the foundation of the State, while there were licences before, there was no regulation worth talking about. ”

However one south Dublin estate agent, who declined to be named, said he is worried that he may not meet the requirements for licensing despite nearly 20 year’s experience. He was trading under his own name for less than three years prior to his application and the legislation says that sole traders or independent contractors need to show “evidence that the applicant was the holder of a licence or permit issued under the Auctioneers and House Agents Acts 1947 to 1973 for three of the five years immediately preceding the making of the application.”

He says although he is a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland, his academic qualification doesn’t meet “the levels six to 10 of the National Framework of Qualifications” required. Mr Lynch said “it is up to this agent to make his case, in the context of the application.”