After decades of operating with little regulation, estate agents in the Valencia Region are set for a legal clean up, as new legislation comes into force this month that requires any individual person who operates as an estate agent to apply on the government’s register, for which they must satisfy strict requirements to be accepted, and, therefore, work as an estate agent.

On 16 August, the bulletin of the Valencia region published the legislation, DECREE 98/2022, of July 29, which would enter into force two months from the publication date.

Therefore, to comply with the legislation, as of 16 October 2022, all real estate agents who want to intervene in a sale in the provinces of Alicante, Valencia or Castellon will have the obligation to be registered in the Registry of Real Estate Brokerage Agents of the Valencian Community, the Registro de Agentes de Intermediación Inmobiliaria.

Registration is mandatory for all individuals operating as estate agents, although there will be a transition period of 12 months to demonstrate that they meet the requirements.

In order to register, the person who acts as a real estate agent in the Valencian community must have an establishment open to the public, unless the services are provided exclusively at a distance by electronic or telematic means.

People who provide services exclusively by electronic or telematic means must have a physical address in the Valencian Community.

In these establishments, or at the physical address of the person who provides the services electronically, queries, complaints and claims from consumers and users in relation to the intermediation services provided must be addressed.

Real estate agents who have an office outside the Valencian community but who sell houses there are not required to register, but if they cannot demonstrate registration in their own corresponding autonomous community, they must inform the registry of the operations they carry out in the Valencian community.

There are also individual requirements, including anybody who act as real estate agent in the provinces of Alicante, Valencia and Castellon must certify professional training for the exercise of the activity.

There are 3 ways to accredit the training. The first option is to be in possession of the official title of Real Estate Agent by proving membership of the corresponding Official College of Real Estate Agents (API). In this case, the school will carry out the registration process.

The second option is for an individual to be in possession of a university degree belonging to the branch of Social and Legal Sciences, Engineering or Architecture.

The third and final option for individuals is to attend an academic training course of at least 200 teaching hours in real estate, related to mediation, advice and service management, whether in person, distance or virtual, issued by public teaching centres, private universities or centres agreed with the Public Administrations or other entities whose statutes include training as one of their purposes.

In order to qualify for registration on the database, and therefore be allowed to work as an estate agent, you must satisfy one of the three options.

However, that’s not the end of the story. There are other requirements. You must contract a bank guarantee, in order to protect the money that the clients have paid to the real estate agent.

The minimum amount of the guarantee or surety insurance for each agent will be 60,000 euro per establishment open to the public and per year of coverage.

If the real estate agent carries out its activity exclusively by telematic means, the minimum amount of this guarantee will be 300,000 euro per agent and year of service.

You must also take out professional civil liability insurance or any other financial guarantee that covers, throughout the territory of the European Union, the responsibilities that may arise from professional negligence.

The capital to be insured by the policy must be determined by regulation, taking into account the number of establishments that each agent maintains open to the public.

The insurance policy may be individual or, in the case of collegiate or associated agents, the collective policy arranged by the college or professional association to which they belong.

Real estate agents must provide the policy number and the name of the insurance company, or the guarantee number and the name of the financial entity for the guarantees, when requested, and will also state it in the mandate contract or in the order note.

For registration in the new mandatory registry, applications may be submitted individually or collectively. In the first case, the person, by means of a responsible declaration, will include their identification data and will undertake to carry out their activity “in accordance with the principles of action and codes of conduct on professional ethics and behaviour, professional secrecy, communications trade and transparency in remuneration”. On the other hand, if it is collective, it will be carried out through a regulated professional association.

Once the application has been submitted, the real estate agent will be registered immediately in the registry and the supporting document will be delivered to the interested person. The General Directorate responsible for the social function of housing will subsequently carry out the checks they deem appropriate on the documentation provided.

The registration will have an indefinite duration and will allow proof that the professional meets the requirements and the appropriate conditions to carry out the activity. A standardised badge will be granted so that the registration is visible to the public. Of course, it will not imply any responsibility of the Generalitat Valenciana in relation to the actions of the agents. It may be cancelled ex officio due to the person’s death; dissolution or tax deregistration in case of being an entity; Failure to comply with the registration requirements, after hearing the interested parties; or by penalty.

The whole point of the legislation is to provide a guarantee for buyers and sellers that their mediator has met the required minimum standards established by the government.

The general director of housing, Pura Peris, explained that “It has been a highly shared and agreed text both with the main user and consumer associations and with the Professional Associations of Property Agents. The idea is to prevent anomalous situations from occurring and give greater transparency and security to the sector and to consumers in order to safeguard the general interest”.