Legal changes affect agents

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Joanne Bloor, Managing Partner at Bloor & Co, looks at protection for estate agents’ customers.

In an effort to increase consumer protection within the property sector, new regulations were implemented in 2008.

Termed as The Consumer Protection from unfair trading regulations (CPRs) and Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations (BPRs), to put more responsibility on both the seller and the selling agent not to engage in unfair practice.

The secondary aim in 2013 is to extend the protection to all consumers in the process and to cover referred services such as conveyance, along with the repeal of the Property MisDescription act (PMA) in 2013 as the CPR overlaps and extends an agents ‘duty of care’ to all consumers.

Therefore the Consumer Protection Regulations will be what all agents/sellers, be they in the sales, letting or property management are required to adhere to.

The latest guidance from OFT of the duty of an agent for example:

lTaking care in gathering and presenting information agents use to advertise properties and services.

lAgents must have systems in place to ensure the marketing materials is accurate and does not leave out material fact.

lWhen something is brought to the attention of an agent, they must investigate this.

lThey must act promptly to update or correct the marketing.

lNot to pressurise a consumer to act quickly to put in an offer, skipping the survey, or pressurise the buyer to finalise the completion.

lNot to overestimate the market appraisal to gain the instruction.

If an agent or seller treats their consumers, business customers, and competitors fair then they are unlikely to breach the regulations, however if they do treat them unfairly they may face criminal or civil action.

That is why when choosing an agent to act in the sale or the rental of your property you choose wisely.

‘People not Property’ has been a motto that we have used from first trading over 13 years ago and has served us well.

There are many for sale and rental boards outside properties across Sheffield but many have ceased to be Sheffield owned or run. Bloor & Co formed in 2000 and we continueto grow while remaining determinedly local and independent.

It is even more important to instruct an agent that you can trust with lots of new regulations to adhere to, it is important to know you are protected.

One of the ways you can check that your agent is complying with the regulations is to choose an agent that is covered under The National Association of Estates Agents, The PropertyOmbudsman and the Association of Residential Letting Agents. We at Bloor & Co have been members since first starting to trade in 2000.