The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) establishes a series of standards for good practice in the real estate sector. Sonneil’s work is regulated by this institution, and we want you to know what advantages it means for our clients.

Because safety and good work is the first thing you should demand when looking for a home.

RICS: what is it?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors promotes and reinforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the development and management of land, real estate, buildings and infrastructure.

RICS is the most prestigious international association of real estate professionals, and companies that operate under its standards (such as Sonneil) are governed by its framework of good practices and by the most demanding principles. It is, therefore, a guarantee of quality.

The professionals and companies qualified by RICS operate on five continents, and ensure that consumers and companies are protected, offer an impartial and independent service and innovate in the development of spaces that respond to the challenges of the present and are suitable for future generations.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

What does RICS regulate?

The standards developed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors apply to the sale, rental and management of real estate. And they seek to form a culture of transparency and independence under which all its members act, regardless of the country in which they operate.

As for real estate companies, these are the issues that RICS regulates:


Looks out for overarching ethical responsibilities of real estate agents notwithstanding their country of practice and provides best practice advice.

Securing instructions

Prior to accepting an instruction (commencing work), agents should clarify for whom they will be working and how they will be paid, thereby spelling out unequivocally whose interests they will be representing. They will act with partiality usually to represent the interests of one of the contracting parties (unless the agent is operating in a brokerage situation). RICS gives advice on the securing of instructions from either a seller or a buyer.

Acting for the seller: marketing the property

Guidance on advising the seller on the marketing of the property. It follows the sequence of events from undertaking a market assessment to agreeing a price or rent with a buyer.

Acting for the seller: agreeing the sale or lease

Guidance on agreeing the sale when acting for the seller.

Acting for the buyer

Guidance for agents acting for buyers. This does not include offering additional services to buyers through an agency when acting for a seller. It is assumed that the agent has no contract with, or instructions from, the seller. The agent will be acting as a property search agent. Agents should ensure that they solely represent the interests of the buyer in this situation.

Ending the instruction

Guidance on ending the instruction with the client. The instruction could be ended by either the agent or the client. It may be at the natural end of the work or as a result of a decision taken by the agent or the client.

Safety and security

Guidance on safety and security, including security of data, health and safety at work, personal safety and looking after the safety of others.

Agency management

Guidance on issues relating to agency management that are relevant to any size of estate agency business – from sole practitioner to a large multinational agency. The main topics discussed are marketing; how to handle clients’ money –including safeguarding against money laundering-; recovering outstanding debts; handling complaints and insurance (for the agent and for the business). Whatever the size of the business, these issues carry equal importance.

RICS’ guiding principles

The real estate activities regulated by RICS are governed by the following code of principles that companies and professionals attached to the organization must respect.

1. Conduct business in an honest, fair, transparent and professional manner.

2. Carry out work with due skill, care and diligence, and ensure that any staff employed have the necessary skills to carry out their tasks.

3. Ensure that clients are provided with terms of engagement which are fair and clear. These should meet all legal requirements and relevant codes of practice including reference to complaints-handling procedures and, where it exists, an appropriate redress scheme.  

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

4. Do the utmost to avoid conflicts of interest and, where they do arise, deal with them openly, fairly and promptly.  

5. Not discriminate unfairly in any dealings.  

6. In all dealings with clients, ensure that all communications (both financial and non-financial subject matters) are fair, clear, timely and transparent.

7. Ensure that all advertising and marketing material is honest, decent and truthful.

8. Ensure that all client money is held separately from other monies in appropriately designated accounts and is covered by adequate insurance.

9. Have adequate and appropriate professional indemnity insurance or equivalent in place that complies with the RICS Rules of Conduct. Having proper cover is a key part of managing your risk.

10. Ensure that it is made clear to all parties with whom you are dealing the scope of your obligations to each party.

11. Where provided as part of the service, give a realistic assessment of the likely selling, buying or rental price, associated cost of occupancy or of the likely financial outcome of any issues, using best professional judgment.

12. Ensure that all meetings, inspections and viewings are carried out in accordance with the client’s lawful and reasonable wishes, having due regard for the security and personal safety of all parties.

At Sonneil, we act in compliance with these RICS standards and principles. Being regulated by this internationally prestigious organization pushes us to always work with transparency, independence and honesty. Now, it’s your turn. May we help you find your home on the coast?