Dealing with Estate Agents

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How to manage an Estate Agent

Easter weekend is some seven weeks away and is traditionally the time when properties start to go on to the market in larger numbers and the offices of Estate Agents get busier.

Estate agents in the UK have a poor reputation and we still regularly hear horror stories from our clients about some of the practices they encounter in their local high street.

You may not be aware that although estate agents are not strictly regulated in the same way as mortgage advisers, they are subject to UK and European Law and when you deal with them you are entitled to consumer protection.

The Property Ombudsman Code of Practice Oct 2015 relating to property sales, spells out how Estate Agents should be behaving.

Pressure to use associate services

Estate agents should not pressurise you as a buyer into using associated services (section 18a of COP “Aggressive Behaviour”).
For example, insisting that you either deal with their mortgage adviser or solicitor when making a purchase or before being allowed to view a property.

We always expressly recommend that you do not deal with the estate agent’s mortgage adviser. Giving the agent potential access to your affordability position may influence how far you are pushed on pricing.

False information

Estate agents should not give you information that is not true in order to influence your decision on a prospective purchase.

Examples of this are: –

  • Suggesting that a property has sold for a price that is has not.
  • Suggesting that a property has other potential interest when it has not.
  • Falsely suggesting planning permission is available, or that the property has met accreditation or has guarantees when it has not.

Many of these actions and others are also likely to contravene the Estate Agents Act 1979.

Under the Estate Agents Act a ‘designated body’ which is currently the Office of Fair Trading, can issue a prohibition order preventing an Estate agent from undertaking estate agency work.

Complaints

If you have reason to believe an estate agent has not dealt with you fairly, visit the ombudsman service or call 01925 530270

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