The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team has prepared a draft of revised guidelines on property sales, to replace the old guidance issued by the now-defunct Office of Fair Trading.
The draft has been passed to Estate Agent Today by the Independent Network of Estate Agents - a regular contributor to the work of government bodies and regulators, and listed on the draft guidelines as one of 12 bodies which reviewed this NTSEAT document.
The draft is 47 pages long and concentrates on advising agents how to interpret the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008.
It applies, in its own words, “if you are an estate agent, a buyers' agent, an internet property retailer, a property auctioneer or a solicitor offering services that count as estate agency work ... sell property or land (for example if you are a property developer that markets and sells your own developments), and/or buy property or land for resale (for example if you are a company that buys up 'below market value' property as an investment opportunity), and/or provide some ancillary service related to any of the above.”
One of the appendices to the report specifies other laws which may in some circumstances apply to agents or to elements of agents’ work - these now number 12, in addition to the CPRs and BPRs.
Section six of the main document refers to enforcement of the regulations, and to the leeway given to local authority and Powys trading standards over judging an indiscretion to be part of a flawed systemic business practice or simply a one-off event.
There is also a request for feedback on the draft, to be sent to the NTSEAT.
“We’ve been involved with CPRs and BPRs over the last five years where we disect current guidance and look at how the industry changes. We then host discussion groups with our members and prepare recommendations on how change might be applied to improve our industry and level the playing field for good agency practice and consumers” explains INEA founder and chief executive Trevor Mealham.
The full document is here and EAT is keen to hear your views on whether they are fit for purpose.