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PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’: The Guild says agencies need to de-risk operations | Utopi Enters High-Growth Phase in ESG rollout

Document reviewing process essential for ongoing agency compliance says Paul Offley

It is important for estate agents to have a process in place to check the documentation they receive at their office, in order to avoid potential claims. This is according to Paul Offley, Compliance Officer at The Guild of Property Professionals.

Who says that most agents are in the habit of checking identification documentation for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) purposes, but there are other types of documentation that also need to be checked and not just accepted and filed.

“Most agents will have a stringent process in place to ensure that they adhere to the requirements outlined with regards to AML but is the same level of checking applied to other documents, such as the property information questionnaires (PIQ). To exercise due diligence for consumer protection from unfair trade regulations, agents would issue some sort of property information questionnaire to sellers to complete.

There are occasions when the seller would email or post this document back to the office. What sometimes happens is an agent will receive the document and tick off on their checklist that the PIQ has been returned by the seller, but they won’t actually read the document,” says Offley.

He notes that agents should be checking the PIQ document to see whether there is any information that needs to be challenged back to the seller, or if there is anything in the document that could be considered material disclosure and therefore needs to be brought to the attention of any interested party.

“I would challenge agents to go back over the PIQ’s they received on their past few instructions to see whether there is any information that needed to be challenged or disclosed, or whether the documents were simply filed when received without going through some sort of checking process. If there is no process in place, important information could easily be overlooked,” Offley comments.

He adds that having a process in place will strengthen the agent’s due diligence and it will highlight any potential pieces of information that the agent was not initially made aware of when they first took on the instruction. This will reduce the probability of any buyer having a CPR claim against the agent.

According to Offley, another document that agents should check when they receive it is the energy performance certificate (EPC). “There have been cases where EPC assessors have put down the incorrect information, resulting the property being rated at the incorrect energy level. Again, how many times do agents get the EPC and tick it off their checklist without going through the details.

It is important for agents to check that the information contained in the document is stated correctly and relates it to the right property. Has anything been missed or does the size of the property on the certificate match the floorplans?” he adds.

Offley says that another reason to check the EPC is to see what can be done to improve the property’s energy efficiency. “These days everyone is very conscience of the cost of energy and what they can do to improve their energy efficiency, so agents could potentially use the information as part of their sales pitch to potential buyers. It is all about making sure the information is read, understood and what can be done to improve the energy efficiency,” he comments.

In conclusion, Offley says the same level of due diligence should be applied to all important documentation received by the agent. Having a process in place where all documents received are reviewed will ensure that no vital information is missed, and the agent is protected against any potential claims.


Utopi Enters High-Growth Phase in ESG rollout

Press Release Glasgow, UK, 31 July 2023: Utopi, the ESG technology specialist, has announced that it is well into its high-growth phase following its recent investment; as it looks to expand to the US market, secure strategic partnerships and customers, and grow its team across the UK and abroad.

Founded in 2019 by a team of four, Utopi has since expanded to a team of 40 employees headquartered in Glasgow, Scotland. In a few short years, Utopi has made significant strides across the UK, Ireland and Europe, and is trusted by renowned international companies including Moda Living, Harrison Street Real Estate, Downing Group, CA Ventures, Collegiate, Scape, and more.

For those unaware it is the specialist technology platform for multi-tenant real estate. The platform collects data, engages with residents, and reports on how buildings perform to ESG standards, allowing users to act and increase their asset value while reducing the environmental impact of their real estate portfolio. For more information, please visit https://www.utopi.co.uk.

Utopi now looks to further accelerate its growth by expanding into the US market and hiring strategic new roles that will help accelerate business success. With sights firmly set on the American Multi-Tenant Real Estate market, site surveys and proof of concept designs kick off this summer with Utopi moving into its newly renovated offices in Glasgow’s East Works end of August; a newly developed site that positions the business within the latest innovators in Scotland’s main hub for technology.

With a goal post-investment to hit a head count of 60 by December, key roles on the agenda for 2023 include: Operations, Head of Commercial and Compliance, Head of Engineering, Customer Success and growing the Product team with Front-end, UX and DevOps experts.

Jonathan Burridge, CEO of Utopi, says: “Our mission is to become the number one ESG Technology platform in our target markets, and this high growth phase will allow us to accelerate towards fulfilling this goal. The fact that Utopi is in such a strong position to do this is not only a testament to the hard work of our incredible expert team but also because of the value we provide to our customers.”

Since 2021, Utopi has collected over 1.5 billion environmental data points, providing customers with real, tangible, and contextualised information that allows them to take action in reducing global carbon emissions.

“We’re proud to say that Utopi offers a completely unmatched solution in our market. Utopi is the specialist ESG technology platform for the multi-tenant real estate sector, and we want to make that statement include ‘around the world’,” adds Jonathan.

Having initially focused on the solely managed residential sector, Utopi has since expanded to offer its solutions to multi-tenant real estate including Commercial Real Estate, Build to Rent (BTR), Co-Living, single-family housing, Health & Social care, and Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA).

“We’re excited about this next chapter for Utopi as we look to reach global audiences with our powerful solutions and services. Data-driven transformation is critical for reducing the environmental impact of the real estate sector, and our aim is to be the number one driver of this across the globe,” concludes Jonathan.


Proptech and Property News in association with Estate Agent Networking.

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Andrew Stanton Founder & Editor of 'PROPTECH-X' where his insights, connections, analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are based on writing 1.3M words annually. Plus meeting 1,000 Proptech founders, critiquing 400 decks and having had 130 clients as CEO of 'PROPTECH-PR', a consultancy for Proptech founders seeking growth and exit strategies. He also acts as an advisory for major global real estate companies on sales, acquisitions, market positioning & operations. With 100K followers & readers, he is the 'Proptech Realestate Influencer.'

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