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Seven days left for agents to defend referral fees to Trading Standards

Agents now have only seven days to complete a referral fees survey, announced late on Friday by Trading Standards and The Property Ombudsman.

The closing date is February 17 and the results of the survey will feed into an assessment being made at the end of this month by the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agent Team.

The assessment is based on a 12 month trial, coming to an end in just over a fortnight’s time, aimed at improving the transparency of referral fees and the information on fees given to buyers and sellers during the property transaction process. 

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The guidance outlines how agents should inform consumers of any referral fees they receive for recommending a service such as conveyancing or mortgages.

“We’ve been monitoring compliance with the guidance during this period, but are keen to hear feedback directly from estate agents themselves. This will inform our understanding around compliance and identify how effectively the guidance helps protect consumers” says Munro in a statement accompanying the new survey.

Agents can complete the survey here.

The Property Ombudsman Katrine Sporle - a joint promoter of the new survey of agents - adds: “The industry is very much aware that the government is concerned about transparency and wants consumers to be able to make informed choices. The results of this survey will provide an indication of how agents have adapted their procedures since the previous survey and, importantly, following the release of NTSELAT’s referral fee guidance.”

The original guidance on referral fees was produced by the National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team with assistance from NAEA Propertymark, the Property Ombudsman, Property Redress Scheme, the Guild of Property Professionals and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. 

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