Minister Shatter establishes new Property Services Regulatory Authority

Property Services Regulatory Authority will help to restore confidence in property market and provide much needed transparency

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter T.D, today announced that he has signed the first Commencement Order and the Establishment Order under the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011. The primary purpose of the Act is to establish the Property Services Regulatory Authority with a mandate to set and enforce standards in the provision of property services by auctioneers, letting agents and property management agents and to provide redress mechanisms for consumers of those services. The Authority will also have statutory responsibility for the publication of residential property sales prices and the establishment and maintenance of a Commercial Leases Database.

The Orders signed yesterday provide for the establishment of the Property Services Regulatory Authority on 3rd April, 2012.

Minister Shatter said that "the statutory functions of the Property Services Regulatory Authority include the publication of residential property sales prices and establishment of a Commercial Leases Database as well as the licensing of auctioneers, letting agents and property management agents. I believe that the lack of transparency in the residential housing market and the absence of proper consumer protection standards, have contributed in no small way to the problems of recent years. That is why the Programme for Government contains a strong commitment to improve the quality of information available on the Irish housing market by requiring that the selling price of all dwellings is recorded in a publicly available, national housing database.

I am pleased therefore to have delivered on the Government's strong commitment to improved transparency in this legislation. I am confident that publication of residential property sales prices and information provided in the new Commercial Leases Database will help to restore much-needed confidence and revive property markets. I expect that this will be one of the Authority's early priorities following its establishment.

Under the legislation, auctioneers will be required to publish a realistic "advised market value" of property for sale rather than using the discredited "guide price" mechanism. And the new requirement for transparency when auctioneers provide advice and information about the availability of loans from lending institutions to intending purchasers, will help to avoid the type of conflict of interests which can result in such purchasers borrowing excessively to their detriment."

The Minister also today appointed a Chairperson and ten ordinary members to the Authority. The Minister announced in December 2011 that he was seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified members of the public to be considered for appointment and 113 applications were received in total. Under the legislation appointments will be on a part-time basis for a three or four year term.

The Chairperson is Ms. Geraldine Clarke who is a solicitor with Gleeson McGrath Baldwin, Solicitors, Dublin. Ms. Clarke is head of the firm’s Litigation Department and is a past President of the Law Society.

The ten other members appointed by the Minister to the Authority are:

· Ms. Carol Boate

· Mr. Edward Carey

· Mr. Patrick Davitt

· Mr. James Doorley

· Ms. Deirdre Fox

· Mr. Martin Hanratty

· Ms. Josephine Henry

· Mr. Paul Mooney

· Mr. Myles O’Reilly

· Ms. Regina Terry

Announcing the members of the new Authority the Minister said:

"I am delighted to announce details of these appointments today. I was extremely impressed with the overall standard of application I received when I sought expressions of interest for appointment to the Authority last December and I can assure you that my task in selecting the most suitably qualified candidates was not an easy one.

I am confident however that I have appointed members of the very highest calibre who between them have a vast range of skills, knowledge and experience in consumer affairs, business, finance, management or administration and other subjects necessary to assist the Authority in performing its functions.

The establishment of the Property Services Regulatory Authority and the appointment of the above members to the Authority will provide clients of property service providers with much greater confidence in future property transactions and associated business dealings. It will at the same time ensure that there is a proper oversight of the new standards which will reflect well on auctioneers, estate agents and property management agents throughout the country. The harsh economic environment we have operated in as a country for the last few years has been particularly difficult and challenging for those involved in all aspects of the property business and therefore the establishment of the new Authority and the appointment of its members is timely and very welcome.

Finally, I want to thank all those who expressed an interest in becoming a member of the Authority following my public invitation for expressions of interest."

04 April 2012

ENDS

 

Note to Editors

The Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 provides for the establishment of the Property Services Regulatory Authority. The main functions of the Authority will be as follows:

 

Licensing of property services providers

The Act will replace the current court-based system for regulating auctioneers and house agents with an updated regulatory system covering auctioneers, estate agents, and property management agents.

As part of the licensing system, the Authority will specify and implement the following standards:

  • standards relating to the required education, training and experience levels of applicants for licences,
  • levels of professional indemnity insurance,
  • quality of financial accounting systems, and
  • ethical standards to be observed in the provision of property services.

 

Redress mechanisms

The Authority will investigate complaints against auctioneers, estate agents and property management agents and impose sanctions in respect of improper conduct. It will also carry out investigations on its own volition. A Compensation Fund is also being established to provide compensation for losses arising from the dishonesty of licensees.

 

Setting other property related standards

Under the legislation –

  • Auctioneers, estate agents and property management agents will be required to conclude a detailed agreement (‘letter of engagement’) with clients within 7 days of agreeing to provide a property service.
  • Auctioneers will be required to publish a realistic "advised market value" of property for sale rather than using the discredited "guide price" mechanism.
  • In order to avoid any conflict of interest and ensure transparency, an auctioneer who wishes to provide a financial service to a purchaser of property which the auctioneer is selling will be required to obtain the agreement of the vendor of the property.
  • An auctioneer who promotes a loan package to intending purchasers will be required to indicate whether or not the financial institution offering the loan had already funded the development (or was prepared to fund it where housing units are being sold from plans).
  • In the case of private treaty sales, auctioneers will be required to maintain records of all offers received in respect of property.
  • The legislation gives the new Authority a power to make regulations in relation to other property-related matters, such as specifying the content of advertisements for the sale or letting of property; standards for measuring property; the determination do the cost of surveys, etc.

 

Residential Property Prices and Commercial Leases

The statutory functions of the new Authority will also include –

  • the publication of residential property sales prices; and
  • the establishment and maintenance of a public database containing relevant details of letting arrangements and rent reviews in the commercial property market.

These measures will help to restore consumer confidence in the property market.

 

Authority Members

Geraldine Clarke (Chairperson): is a solicitor with Gleeson McGrath Baldwin, Solicitors, Dublin. She is head of the firm’s Litigation Department. She has extensive experience in all aspects of commercial and general litigation practicing in the areas of banking, intellectual property, employment, EU law, product liability and general contract disputes. Geraldine is a past President of the Law Society and Founding Director of the Irish Centre for European Law. A fluent French speaker, she was head of the Irish Delegation to the CCBE (Council of Europe Bars and Law Societies) for a number of years and is now the representative of the Law Society to the IBA (International Bar Association). She is a member of the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal which was established to decide appeals from decisions of the Financial Regulator. Geraldine was a member of the PSRA Implementation Group which was set up to assist and advice on practical matters relating to the establishment of the new body and to prepare for the new licensing system. As Chairperson Designate, Geraldine engaged with the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality on 27 March, 2012.

Carol Boate: has worked as an Advocacy division Manager with The Competition Authority since 2003. In this capacity she manages a team charged with advocating the reform of anti-competitive laws, regulations and administrative practices. Carol was a member of the Auctioneering/Estate Agency Review Group that recommended in 2005 the setting up of the Property Services Regulatory Authority. She has subsequently advised the (interim) Property Services Regulatory Authority on appropriate minimum standards of education, training and experience and a Code of Practice for property service providers.

Edward Carey: is Managing Director, Property Team Carey Auctioneers, Enfield, Co. Meath. He has 20 years professional industry experience as a practicing auctioneer and valuer. Edward is a former President of the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institute (IAVI) and is currently Chairman, Residential Agency Practice Group, Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.

Patrick Davitt: has worked in auctioneering for over 30 years. He was a member of the Auctioneering/Estate Agency Review Group in 2004 set up to look at auctioneering practices in Ireland one of whose recommendations was the setting up of the Property Services Regulatory Authority. Patrick has been a member of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV) since 1983 and a Fellow of the Institute since 1985. He was arbitrator of the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) in 2004. He is currently a consultant to an insurance brokerage he set up in 1981 but which is currently owned by Campion Insurance.

James Doorley: is Assistant Director of National Youth Council of Ireland with responsibility for Advocacy and Representation 2006-present. He was previously employed by the Disability Federation of Ireland as Regional Officer North East 2002-2006. James was Chairperson of Consumers’ Association of Ireland 2007-2010 (voluntary/unpaid position) having been a volunteer with the organisation since 2000. He is Irish Representative on the EU Commissions Consumer Consultative Group 2010 to present. He was a delegate to BEUC (The European Consumers’ Organisation) 2007-2010.

Deirdre Fox: has, for the last five years, been the Chairperson of the Board of a Owners Management Company. Deirdre was engaged by Dublin City Council as a mentor for owner management companies and she established the Apartment Owners Network in 2008 to provide a voice for members of management companies. Opinions provided by the Network were considered by the Law Reform Commission and by the Department of Justice in their drafting of the Multi Unit Development Act 2009. Deirdre presented the consumer view point on the Act at the Sustainable Communities and Housing Committee in Dublin Castle in 2011.

Martin Hanratty: has a M.Sc. in Planning and Development and has worked in the construction and property industries for over 35 years. He currently lectures in the Dublin Institute of Technology School of Real Estate and Construction Economics. He is also the Head of the Department of Real Estate at the college where he is responsible for a number of courses in the property area ranging from Ordinary Degree to MSc level. Martin is a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland Surveying Courses Accreditation Committee.

Josephine Henry: has been employed since 1997 as an Advocate Planner for Inner City Communities with Community Technical Aid (CTA) Dublin. She has to date completed over 100 consultations/reports on local plans, leisure projects, planning schemes, infrastructure projects, RAPID Plans, traveller housing, play design and disability access. She has provided training to communities and councillors on the Irish Planning System and advised communities and councillors on three successive Dublin City Development Plans. Josephine’s qualifications include a Certificate in Housing Management (Development and Inclusion for those with Disabilities) from the National college of Ireland and Irish Council for Social Housing; an MSc in Spatial Planning from DIT and a Diploma in Legal Studies. She is currently a member of the Citizen Information Board (CIB) and a former member of Comhar (National Sustainable Development Partnership) 2002-2004.

Paul Mooney: has worked exclusively in Property Management in Ireland for twenty years. He is a Director/Partner in Strathmore Ivernia Ltd offering Property Management and Consultancy services to Owner Management Companies and other property owners and occupiers. As a member of the Irish Property and Facility Managers Association he was part of the delegation in 2006/07 making presentations to the Law Reform Commission, Officer of Director of Corporate Enforcement, National Property Services Regulatory Authority and the National Consumer Agency regarding issues and difficulties in Multi Unit Developments. Paul holds a Diploma in Auctioneering and Valuations from the Irish Auctioneers and Valuers Institutes and is a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland. He is an accredited Mediator with Mediation Forum Ireland. He completed Adjudication Induction for Private Residential Tenancies Board (2004).

Myles O’Reilly: is a graduate of Harvard University Program for Management Development (1977). He worked as an accountant in several Dublin based companies between 1963 and 1991 when he opened a consultancy practice, O’Reilly Consultants, offering advice on management, competition and fair trade issues including; for 8 years advice to IBEC on competition and indirect taxes; for 4 years was consultant to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Enterprise and Small Business on insurance reform preparing in that period 5 published reports. In 1990, as Chairperson of the Fair Trade Commission, Myles compiled a report of a Study of Restrictions in the professions of Architects, Surveyors, Auctioneers and Valuers. He represented IBEC on the Review Group on Competition and Mergers established in 1986 which published its final report in 2000 which led to the introduction of the Irish Competition Act 2002.

Regina Terry: is a Principal Officer in the Civil Law Reform Division of the Department of Justice and Equality. During the course of her career she has worked on a variety of legislative projects. She is also a non-practising barrister.

 

Fees

Members of the Authority will be paid Category 4 fees* as follows:

Chairperson - €8,978

Member - €5,985

*Departmental representatives and other public sector employees will not be paid any fees.