The Minister for Justice Ms Helen McEntee signed the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 (Minimum Standards) Regulations 2020 effective from 30 November 2020. These Regulations address additional standards to be observed in the provision of property services by property services providers.
Following extensive engagement with sector representative bodies, focus groups of licensees from across the country and with the PSRA Forum, the published regulations reflect the high standards expected from licensees in the provision of property services to their clients and the public.
Several of the Regulations, without being absolutely prescriptive, contain provisions that licensees act in a fair, reasonable and just manner towards their clients. Some examples: licensees are obliged to act in the clients’ interests, are obliged to return client funds within defined timeframes subject to reasonable excuse and reply to queries within a reasonable timeframe. In considering what is a reasonable excuse for departing from the expected timeframe for returning client funds, or a reasonable timeframe for replying to a query, licensees may wish to bear in mind how they would justify or explain their actions or omissions to an Inspector who is carrying out an investigation into a complaint received based on a breach of the Regulations.
Breaches of the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 (Minimum Standards) Regulations 2020 fall under the definition of “improper conduct” in Section 2(1) the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 (the Act). As such, the provisions of the new Regulation may be the subject of complaints from members of the public. Complaints received relevant to the matters provided for in these Regulations, may be formally investigated by Inspectors appointed by the Authority and, if improper conduct is confirmed by an investigation, sanctions may result for the licensee.