The Cooling-Off Period Regulations: Explained

At VTUK, we have a passion for great client relations. We work hard each and every day to provide all of our clients with a total solution. We are writing this post to inform all of our clients and property professionals, about the change in cooling-off period regulations, effective from this Friday 13th June. By outlining all the essential information, we want to help all our clients, whether you are a landlord, estate agent or property manager.

What is a Cooling-Off Period?

We’ve found many agents do not know what a cooling-off period actually is. To simplify this for agents, we have put together a brief explanation of what the cooling-off period is. A cooling-off period is a length of time an agent must leave, after the seller signs the contract, where the contract may be rescinded. As an agent, during this period of time you should treat it, as if the contract never existed.

The Cooling-Off Period Regulation Change

From this Friday (June 13th 2014), the cooling-off period agents have to leave will increase from 7 to 14 days. The seller must be given in clear writing, their right to cancel, within their 14 day period. Furthermore, for agents who give the right for vendors to sign away the right for them to begin work immediately, consumers will still have the right to cancel within the cooling period.

There are different occasions where the cooling-off period does not apply and the tenant does not have the right to cancel. This is causing confusion for all agents and so we have outlined below, where the cooling period is and isn’t valid:

* Contracts signed in the agent’s office do not carry a right to cancel. Certain information must be provided to the consumer, clearly explaining this.

* A contract signed away from the agent’s premises, gives the seller a right to cancel and a cancellation notice must be given to the consumer, before the contract is signed.

However, there are occasions where this may not happen and agents can get confused to whether or not they need to implement a cooling off period. For example, if an agent leaves the consumer a contract at the clients home, which is then returned to the agent’s office, this is said to have no cancellation rights. On the other hand, if the consumer returns the signed contract immediately then a cancellation right is applicable.

Form of Notice

As well as the change in the cooling-off period, the form of notice to be included in consumer contracts has also been altered. This change means sales and letting agents from this Friday (June

13th 2014) will have to hand over certain information, to anyone instructing them to market a property.

When a contract is signed away from the agent’s premises, a form of notice must clearly demonstrate the seller’s right to cancel. This notice is outlined below:

To [here the trader’s name, geographical address and, where available, fax number and email address are to be inserted by the trader]:

I/We [*] hereby give notice that I/We [*] cancel my/our [*] contract of sale of the following goods [*]/for the supply of the following service [*],

Ordered on [*]/received on [*],

Name of consumer(s),

Address of consumer(s),

Signature of consumer(s)

Date

[*] Delete as appropriate.]

When a contract is signed in the agent’s premises, a cancellation right is not permitted. Certain information must be provided to the consumer, clearly explaining this.

This regulation does not apply to tenancy agreements or guarantors. This will only apply to consumer landlords, not companies. The regulations and further information on what must be given to the consumer within an on-premises contract can be seen at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/3134/contents/made

The full changes in the cooling-off period regulation is summarised below:

* The cooling-off period will increase from 7 to 14 days.

* Sales and letting agents from this Friday (June 13th 2014) will have to hand over certain information, to anyone instructing them to market a property.

* When a contract is signed away from the agent’s premises, a form of notice must clearly demonstrate the seller’s right to cancel. This notice is outlined above.

* When a contract is signed in the agent’s premises, a cancellation right is not permitted. Certain information must be provided to the consumer, clearly explaining this.

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