Ethics are the moral barrier that separate a property professional from other people in the market place. No matter where they are in the world, if a property professional is RICS affiliated, they show commitment to ethical behaviour by keeping to five professional and ethical standards.
1. Act with integrity
This is about being honest and straightforward in the way that they work, which includes things like sharing key information with their clients, respecting their privacy, not taking advantage of a client, and not allowing bias to override their professional judgement. If there is a potential conflict of interest, the agent should disclose this at the outset. They should also act consistently in the public interest when it comes to giving advice.
2. Always provide a high standard of service
A RICS affiliated agent should always make sure that their clients receive the best possible advice and support. This means being clear about the service they are providing and what the client expects from them – if this is above and beyond their scope of competence, they should explain that they’re not the best fit for the client.
This also means that the agent should be transparent about fees and any other costs or payments such as referral fees or commissions. They should also communicate with the client properly, and to pay for the services of others within agreed timeframes.
3. Act in a way that promotes trust in the profession
The agent should always act in a way that promotes them and their firm in a positive, professional way. Overall, this is about understanding that being a professional is not just about how an agent acts at work: it’s also about how they conduct themselves in their private life. They should also understand how their actions affect others and the environment, and they should always do what they say they will in order to fulfil their obligations. Finally, they should aim to meet the true spirit of professional standards – not just pay lip service to it.
4. Treat others with respect
A RICS-affiliated property agent should treat everyone they deal with in a polite, courteous and respectful way that also considers cultural sensitivities as well as best business practices. This means never discriminating against anyone for any reason: issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, size, religion, country of origin or disability have no bearing on how they deal with people or conduct business.
5. Take responsibility
An ethical agent should always be accountable for their actions: they shouldn’t blame others if something goes wrong, and if they suspect something isn’t being done ethically, they should be prepared to take action.
Taking responsibility also means acting with skill, care and diligence. If an agent has a complaint against them, they should respond appropriately and professionally, and should aim to resolve the conflict as fairly as possible.
If the agent thinks something is not right, they should be prepared to question it and raise the matter with their colleagues or organisation. Alternatively, they should raise the matter with RICS or any other appropriate body.