Calling all Estate and Lettings Agents…do you REALLY know your legal obligations?

Having advised many Estate and Lettings Agents on legal matters ranging from misdescription in particulars, sales commission disputes and claims to the Property Ombudsman, I am well aware of the legal issues which property professionals face day-to day. However, there remains some doubt in the sector as to how far an agents’ legal duties towards a vendor actually extends.

Below I examine some of the key areas, which, if followed, could save agents considerable time and money.

Explain to Clients’ what key terms mean

Agents must explain to vendors, in writing, what common terms such as “sole selling rights”, “sole agency”, and “ready, willing, and able purchaser” mean, particularly where such terms are repeated in the contract between the parties.

Ensure that any contract terms are fair

Sounds easy right? In practice not so.

The introduction of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) replaced three major pieces of consumer legislation – the Sale of Goods Act, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, and the Supply of Goods and Services Act. It was brought in to simplify, strengthen and modernise the law in this area. It also brought with it a test of fairness. Examples of where an Agents’ contractual terms have fallen foul of the CRA include:-
•terms that give an agent the right to terminate the contract at its discretion where the vendor is not given the same right;
•terms providing for a vendor to give its solicitor “irrevocable authority” to pay the Agents’ fees; and
•terms imposing disproportionately high charges for a vendor’s failure to comply with contractual obligations, such as late payment of fees.

Property Misdescription

Agents must comply with their legal obligations with respect to property misdescription, with a failure to do so leading to both civil and criminal liability. An Agent must be accurate, fair and not misleading in the information they give or do not give, with the legal test being what an average consumer would need to know, the guidance stating this would be the asking price, location, number and size of rooms and tenure (freehold or leasehold). At the outset you are not expected to have to research areas outside of your scope such as ones that are the roles of Surveyors or Conveyancers. But, if you do become aware of them, you must not ignore or suppress them. If material – disclose it.

Examples of failure to comply with the rules include:-
•advising that a particular asking price would be appropriate to gain a listing where you know that it is not an honest or fair appraisal and is done to get the business;
•giving false information about likely interest, or creating false viewers; and
•Limited availability or time pressures which are untrue.

Written by Joanne Holmes of

EAN Content

Content shared by this account is either news shared free by third parties or sponsored (paid for) content from third parties. Please be advised that links to third party websites are not endorsed by Estate Agent Networking - Please do your own research before committing to any third party business promoted on our website.

You May Also Enjoy

Breaking News

Breaking Property News – 28/02/24

Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Proptech-X.   Birchgrove and Hybr launch intergenerational living scheme A unique partnership will see students, key workers and retirees live together at new north London retirement development. Birchgrove, the UK’s leading provider of rented retirement homes, and Hybr, the UK’s leading student letting platform, today announce an industry-first…
Read More
Estate Agent Talk

Benefits Of Choosing Roger Bates Properties

Roger Bates Properties stands out as a prominent real estate agency that offers a myriad of benefits to individuals seeking to buy, sell, or invest in real estate. With a stellar reputation and a commitment to excellence, choosing Roger Bates Properties can prove to be a decision that yields numerous advantages. 1. Experience and Expertise…
Read More
Love or Hate Rightmove
Breaking News

Rightmove’s weekly mortgage tracker – 28/02/24

The average 5-year fixed mortgage rate is now 4.80%, up from 4.59% a year ago The average 2-year fixed mortgage rate is now 5.15%, up from 4.92% a year ago The average 85% LTV 5-year fixed mortgage rate is now 4.73%, up from 4.64% a year ago The average 60% LTV 5-year fixed mortgage rate is now 4.30%, up from 4.25% a year ago The average monthly mortgage payment on a…
Read More
Love or Hate Rightmove
Breaking News

Rightmove calls for stamp duty reform with only 4% of London homes exempt

Ahead of the Spring Budget on March 6th, the UK’s biggest property website Rightmove suggests three policy reforms that could help people moving home: A reform of stamp duty to consider regional property price variations: Only 4% of homes in London are stamp duty exempt for all buyers, compared to 71% in the North East Less than…
Read More
Breaking News

Breaking Property News – 27/02/24

Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Proptech-X.   Alto reveals ‘next generation’ of Lettings Progression Alto, software for estate agents and part of Houseful, has revealed further information about the improvements being rolled out in 2024 to drive a step change in business efficiency for letting agents. Leading the way is a…
Read More
Home and Living

The Versatility of Parquet Flooring in Contemporary Homes

What comes into your mind when you hear about parquet flooring? Most probably Victorian era, historic estates, grand ballrooms, and grand mansions but what if I tell you that the parquet flooring has redefined itself with warmth, texture, and classic elegance? Parquet flooring in contemporary homes is a delight to the eyes because when you…
Read More