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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

POA: So how many agency listings could be 'unlawful?'

Agency trade bodies have backed the “clarity” provided by Trading Standards after it deemed “price on application” listings unlawful.

It comes as Estate Agent Today can exclusively reveal just how many agency listings are using the phrase POA or “price on application” on their portal listings.

Rightmove said it has around 3,000 live listings with POA stated, which makes up 0.3% of properties on the website.

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Zoopla said that excluding SSTC listings, it calculated that 0.74% of UK residential listings are shown as POA.

The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) published an opinion this week, developed with barrister Lee Reynolds in December 2020 and more recently the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA,) that the phrase contravenes consumer protection legislation.  

Responding to the announcement yesterday morning, industry entrepreneur Charlie Lamdin used his BestAgent Breakfast Show to accuse Trading Standards of “scaremongering,” highlighting that the body doesn’t have powers to decide what is or isn’t illegal.

Other groups welcomed the clarity.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, said: “The use of ‘POA’ is a tried and tested method of marketing by agents in very specific and appropriate circumstances; for example when there may be no comparable property on the market or if a vendor prefers an element of discretion about its value.

“Trading Standards’ has taken the view that it’s confusing for consumers and in updating its guidance it is giving clarity for agents, buyers and sellers. 

“This is another step forward in bringing into line the material information that all agents must provide when the new properties come to the sales and lettings market.”

Paul Offley, compliance officer at The Guild of Property Professionals, added: “We appreciate the clarity James Munro has provided regarding POA and the importance of disclosure of material information so that buyers can make an informed choice before proceeding with any property transaction and the benefits this brings to both sellers and buyers. 

“We are working closely with our members to ensure they are ready for when the data fields are requested by property portals.”

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