Consumer Protection Regulations

The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team of Powys County Council—in its role as the UK’s lead enforcement authority for the Estate Agents Act 1979—has updated its guidance to help property sales businesses comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs) when carrying out activities in the UK. This guidance updates and replaces OFT guidance on property sales: compliance with the CPRs and BPRs.

Powys' guidance

Mark Hayward

Mark Hayward
NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive

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'NAEA Propertymark supports the move towards the guidance being presented in a way that consumers will find easier to understand. However, we believe that it should go further in including specific examples which will help agents to understand what they should and should not say when dealing with consumers.

'Working examples could include the need for agents to tell an individual or couple looking to buy a house for retirement that there is a school nearby with increased noise and traffic levels at certain times; a self-employed consumer looking to purchase a property should be made aware of any parking restrictions surrounding commercial vehicles.

'By including detailed instances relevant to the buying and selling process we believe that the guidance would be more descriptive and allow agents to clearly understand what they can and cannot do'.

Download the Sales Protocol Toolkit

Propertymark has been working with a group of stakeholders including agents, conveyancers, Land Registry, software providers, The Property Ombudsman and National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team on varied initiatives with the aim of reducing transaction times.

Our toolkit is designed to help agents comply with Consumer Protection Regulations, speed up transactions and reduce fall-through rates. Practising agents working across different markets have been involved in trialling parts of the toolkit and have reported reductions in transaction times down to seven weeks in some cases.

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Increasing the transparency of referral fees

On 28 February 2019, the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) published new guidance on referral fees received by estate agents across the UK. Their aim is to make previously hidden fees open and transparent to consumers. Within the guidelines, agents now need to disclose in writing at the earliest opportunity:

  • the price of its services, including any 'compulsory' extras
  • where a referral arrangement exists, that it exists, and with whom
  • where a transaction-specific referral fee is to be paid, its amount
  • where a referral retainer exists, an estimate of the annual value of that retainer to the estate agent or its value per transaction
  • where the referral is rewarded other than by payment, an assessment of the annual value of the reward or the value of the reward per transaction

The NTSEAT guidance was produced with assistance from NAEA Propertymark, The Property Ombudsman, PRS, Guild of Property Professionals and RICS. If the industry does not take this guidance seriously and transparency is not achieved, referral fees could be banned when this guidance is reviewed.

More info

Sales Protocol Toolkit

Our Property Information Questionnaires (PIQs) which form part of the toolkit will help you comply with the CPRs. The toolkit takes a fresh look at transactions, encouraging agents and vendors to work together right from the start to get the property both Market Ready and Sale Ready.

Tutor and student

CPR TRAINING COURSE

This course looks at the law from both a sales and lettings perspective, advising on the right procedures to have in place, what is and isn't permissible and the consequences of a breach. More info...

NTSELAT guidance on property sales and lettings

Guidance on property sales and lettings

NTSELAT have updated their guidance which is intended to help you to comply with the CPRs and the BPRs when you carry out activities in the UK. More info...

National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) guidance on referral fees

Guidance on transparency of fees involving property sales

In February 2019, the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) published guidance on referral fees received by estate agents across the UK. More info...