The National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team and The Property Ombudsman have launched an urgent survey to assess awareness and uptake of referral fee rules by agents.
New industry guidance on the transparency of such fees was launched last year, and a final decision on whether referral fees will be outlawed completely or subject to other controls is likely to be made in the next few weeks.
Now agents are being encouraged to complete a survey by February 17 - that’s just 10 days time.
James Munro, head of the National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team, says: “It’s been just over a year since we launched our industry guidance on transparency of referral fees during the home buying and selling process. 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.”
The new industry guidance was launched last February.
It outlines how estate agents should inform consumers of any referral fees they receive for recommending a service such as conveyancing, legal services or other connected services.
The aim of the guidance is to improve transparency in the estate agency sector as part of the government’s aim to improve the home buying and selling process.
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.