CPRs; the implications
29 August 2018 9667 Views
In 2014 The Properties Misdescriptions Act was repealed and replaced with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, otherwise known as CPRs.
The main change was a shift in focus away from caveat emptor, or buyer beware, to greater transparency for those involved in the purchasing or renting of property where agents are historically famous for flowery language and an economic use of the truth!
The acid test of compliance with the CPRs is whether the customer has been treated fairly…
When it comes to instruction, transparency of fees and services is critical to enable a fully informed consumer decision.
And when it comes to sales and lettings no longer is it just the responsibility of the buyer/tenant to ask the right questions. The responsibility for providing information which could affect any decision to buy or rent falls on both the vendor/landlord and the agent.
This information is known as material information and CPRs apply to both sales and lettings. Material information should be provided up front, before any transactional decision is made.
The regulations identify who could be considered the average consumer;
The ‘average consumer’ is someone who is reasonably well-informed, and reasonably observant and circumspect. For example, an average consumer would pay some attention to documentation given to them, but not necessarily to the small print unless key points in it are brought to their attention. An average consumer would check out publicly available facts for themselves where this is straightforward to do, although what checks they actually make will be influenced by the information that a business has given them
And their transactional decision is
defined widely and is not simply a consumer’s decision to use a business’s services or not, or to buy a property or not. It could, for example, be a client’s decision to accept an offer, or a buyer’s decision to view a property, commission a survey or instruct a conveyancer.
But these are relatively broad definitions, and there is an acknowledgement from those who enforce CPRs, that material information is subjective. What might be important to one buyer/tenant, may not be to another.
In our next blog, Ben Robinson will look at some practical examples of CPRs in action, what enforcement, if any, was taken, and what lessons can be learnt.
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