The one-day conference, ‘Property services: facing the future’, also marks the launch of a research report on the lived experience of regulation in the Irish property sector.
The Impact of Regulation on the Property Services Sector is based on input from over 1,200 licensees of the PSRA, and on a number of individual, follow-up interviews. Author Dr Róisín Murphy presented her findings at today's conference.
The PSRA is chaired by solicitor Geraldine Clarke (pictured).
In his speech this morning, Justice minister Charlie Flanagan acknowledged the work of the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) in regulating, driving standards and supporting property service professionals.
“Your sector has seen great change over the last decade. You had to cope with the recession. Then you were called upon to support and embrace the challenges presented by the sector being regulated by the Property Services Regulatory Authority in 2012.
“No change is easy, but big change is especially tough,” he he commented, pointing out that the regulatory system oversees almost 6,000 licensees, manages complaints, and protects consumers through a compensation fund.
He praised the positive response from licensees to the introduction of regulation, which they regard as both necessary and relevant, according to research published this morning.
Minister Flanagan pointed out that there had been positive practical changes, such as the streamlining of licencing requirements under one authority in the PSRA, with online file-tracking available since 2016, and further licensee products coming on stream this month.
The PSRA is one of the first justice agencies to become fully digital, the minister added.
He praised the PSRA’s role in the development of a national auctioneering and property services apprenticeship programme, led by the City of Dublin Education and Training Board, as an effective alternative pathway to a career as a licensed property service provider.
New courses began last September at both Ballsbridge College, Dublin, and the College of Commerce in Cork.
“This is a very welcome innovation and is a recognition of the increasing need for qualified personnel,” the minister said.
“Regulation of any sort tends, of course, to focus on the interests of the consumer or the public, and quite deservedly so,” he continued.
“Indeed, further regulations, proposing minimum standards in areas such as ethical conduct, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, and general obligations are currently being drafted.
“And they will, no doubt, be a welcome enhancement of the authority’s existing legislation,” he said.
Conference sessions today will focus on key areas of interest for licensees, including: ethical conduct, mediation, anti-money laundering, protection of business interests, consumer protection, and professional development.
Guest speaker Mark Hayward (Chief Executive of the National Association of Estate Agents in Britain), is speaking on Brexit.
PSRA chief executive Maeve Hogan said: “This event provides us with an opportunity to acknowledge the significant work that has been achieved to date in regulating the property services sector, while also looking to the future to ensure continuing professionalism and effective regulation of the sector.”
Over 300 licensees from across the country are attending the event, along with representatives from relevant sectoral bodies. The event is also being live-streamed.
Speakers included JP McDowell (McDowell Purcell solicitors) and Liz Pope (Property Registration Authority).
The PSRA was established in April 2012 and is the statutory body with responsibility for approximately 5,800 licences issued throughout the country.
Licence applications are made online through www.licences.ie (through the PSRA button) and the full suite of licence application types will be available online by the end of this month