RICS to consult on the transparency of fees

At the end of last year RICS established a Transparency Working Group (TWG) to look at the subject of transparency in property transactions and services and as a result RICS is moving to gather evidence on the transparency of fees charged by agents.

A number of issues around transparency in fees have been raised by property professionals, clients (both consumer and business), other regulators and the press. RICS hopes that through the evidence they will establish a foundation where both the consumer and business will benefit.

The TWG believes that although there may be examples of unwelcome practice, there are also examples of good practice that need to be looked at and promoted.

The consultation will cover:

Declaration of insurance remuneration and commissions.

Service charges in leasehold property.

Commission on letting renewals.

Commission on Home Information Packs (HIP) Orders and Energy Performance Certificates.

Valuation fees.

Arrangement of fees for security loan valuations.

In addition the TWG intends to meet with key stakeholders and, where practical, hold public select committee style meetings, where the Group can question stakeholders and examine their evidence.

Peter Goodacre, RICS President and Chairman of the TWG comments: "The issue of transparency has been thrust into the limelight in a whole range of sectors. It is, therefore, timely that RICS is launching this initiative on transparency in relation to professional fees. Whilst RICS is responsible for the mechanics of the project it is crucial that other organisations, professionals working in the property sector and individual consumers and consumer organisations inform the discussion and enable us to collect robust evidence about what is happening. I invite as many individuals and organisations to respond to the consultation as possible."