Trading Standards Issue Estate Agent Referral Fees Guidance

Fresh guidance from the National Trading Standards Estate Agency team has issued new guidance that will make fees involved in property sales more transparent.

In particular, the guidance addresses making referral fees more transparent in order to comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.

The new guidance lays out that complete transparency regarding: the parties involved, prices and retainer values should be disclosed to the buyer and seller.

Any property transaction in breach of this guidance could “render an estate agency liable for criminal prosecution.”

Estate agencies will be monitored for the next year with the trading standards team set to review findings and report to Parliament in twelve months.

The team was made up of collective experts from NAEA Propertymark, Property Redress Scheme, RICS, The Guild of Property Professionals and the Property Ombudsman to draft the new regulations that will aim to demystify referral fees for consumers.

James Munro of The NTS Estate Agency Team, commented: “It is important for customers to be aware of any referral fees that an estate agent is receiving for recommending a service such as conveyancing, legal services or other connected service, so that they can make an informed decision about whether to take up the offer or shop around for a better deal.

Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “We have long called for greater clarity and transparency on referral fees.

“It is essential that if you are referred for financial or legal services by your estate agent, you understand that they are receiving a commission, and how much this is. The guidance released today is a triumph for consumers and an important move in improving the house buying and selling process.”

What will the latest guidance mean for the conveyancing sector? Will the latest transparency guidance create a fairer market for buyers and seller?

 

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