The Guild of Property Professionals has welcomed government steps to provide buyers and sellers with greater transparency in transactions - and says it checks it own member agents for compliance.
As we reported earlier this week, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has updated its official How To Buy and How To Sell documents: the amendments relate solely to referral fees, which are known to be under review by the government.
Now the Guild has issued a statement saying it was amongst the experts offering guidance to the MHCLG on the amendments, which are aimed at clarifying to consumers how referral fees work, and assuring them that they do not have to use the suppliers put forward by agents who would receive fees in return.
“As much as the guides are aimed at sellers and buyers, estate agents will need to ensure that they are acting in accordance to the guides and ensure they are fully compliant” says Paul Offley, the Guild’s in-house compliance officer.
“For example, agents need to ensure that they are adhered to the requirement to fully disclose referral fees.”
The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team issued guidance at the end of February regarding the requirement for agents to disclose the amount of fee agents may earn by referring a seller or a buyer to a third-party provider such as a conveyancer or mortgage/insurance broker.
“These referrals all form part of the ‘journey of the transaction’ and are aimed at helping support buyers and sellers through that process. It is important that the industry is able to demonstrate full transparency on any fees they may earn as part of this referral process, this then enables sellers and buyers to be aware of all the facts before they make a decision” Offley explains.
He continues that the Guild has been working with member agents to ensure this information is provided, and regularly checks on members’ compliance.