How can property sales guidance be utilised by conveyancers?

The National Trading Standards has released draft revised guidelines on compliance for property sales. The revised guidelines will replace the old guidance issued by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), who are now non-operational.

The draft has subsequently been distributed by the Independent Network of Estate Agents (INEA), who are a frequent contributor to the work of government bodies and regulators. The INEA are were also one of 12 bodies that reviewed the document and are listed within the guidelines.

The draft consists of 47 pages and focuses on advising agents on interpreting the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008.

The guidance may be useful to solicitors and conveyancers to help them understand what trading practices are likely to be prohibited in the industry, and will also have particular importance to any firm who are also providing estate agency services.

For instance, a solicitor offering services that feature estate agency work are exempt from the requirement to join an officially approved scheme. However, they are subject to oversight by other bodies that can investigate complaints against legal practitioners, such as the Legal Ombudsman.

Other relevant information to those practising in conveyancing is that an estate agent would be breaching regulations if they pressurised a potential buyer to use associated services, for example to use a particular firm of solicitors or licensed conveyancers.

When in its final version, the guidance will update and replace the previous OFT ‘Guidance on Property Sales’ (OFT 1354, issued September 2012).

The full property sales guidelines can be found on the National Trading Standards website and they are keen to receive any feedback professionals may have regarding the draft.

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