229. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to amend legislation to ensure that landlords that are also estate agents and are renting their own houses through their own business automatically lose their estate agent or auctioneer licence if found to be in breach of their landlord obligations regarding the condition of the house; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5453/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The position is that the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 provides for the regulation of property services providers, i.e. auctioneers, letting agents and property management agents, by the Property Services Regulatory Authority. The Act implements a licensing system in respect of such property services providers and sets standards for the provision by licensees of the property services concerned, e.g. obligations in relation to adequate professional indemnity insurance; maintenance of proper client accounts; provision of letters of engagement to clients setting out details of, inter alia, the service to be provided to the client, the amount or rate of commission or fee payable by the client. The Act does not impose standards in respect of properties handled by licensees, including property owned or leased by licensees themselves.
The Property Services Regulatory Authority has statutory powers under the 2011 Act that enable it to carry out investigations of licensees in order to identify improper conduct. Improper conduct includes the commission by a licensee of an act which renders the licensee no longer a fit and proper person to provide a property service, or a particular class of property service.
Under section 63 of the 2011 Act, a person may make a complaint in writing to the Authority alleging that improper conduct by a licensee has occurred or is occurring and, on receipt of such a complaint, the Authority shall cause an investigation of the complaint to be carried out. Where such a complaint is upheld by the Authority or, on appeal, by the Property Services Appeal Board, sanctions may be imposed which range from a warning or reprimand to suspension or revocation of a licensee's licence.