Property Week has scored a major victory in its campaign to clean up the housing market

The government today confirmed it is to intoroduce tough laws to clamp down on rogue residential estate agents.

The government’s bid to rid the industry of the cowboys and provide greater protection for members of the public will form part of a new Consumer Bill, which will be introduced in the current session of Parliament.

The bill will deliver greater powers to the Office of Fair Trading to investigate malpractice and remove rogue agents from the market, as revealed in our exclusive interview with trade minister Ian McCartney following our series of reports on agency malpractice (July 4, 2006). Victims of malpractice stand to get greater compensation.

Details of bill have yet to be published but it will focus on redress and mandatory membership of an ombudsman scheme for estate agents. Even though Tony Blair’s last Queen’s Speech as Prime Minister promised ‘legislation … for the regulation of estate agents’ the bill is expected to stop short of the property industry’s call to outlaw unlicensed agents, who comprise 30% of market.