The National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team and The Property Ombudsman have today launched a survey to assess awareness and uptake of the transparency rules around referral fees linked to property buying and selling.
The new industry guidance was launched last year. It outlines how estate agents should inform consumers of any referral fees they receive for recommending a service such as conveyancing, legal services or other connected services. The aim of the guidance is to improve transparency in the estate agency sector as part of the government’s aim to improve the home buying and selling process.
Estate agents are being encouraged to complete the survey by 17 February 2020
James Munro head of the National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team said:
“It’s been just over a year since we launched our industry guidance on transparency of referral fees during the home buying and selling process. We’ve been monitoring compliance with the guidance during this period, but are keen to hear feedback directly from estate agents themselves. This will inform our understanding around compliance and identify how effectively the guidance helps protect consumers.”
Property Ombudsman, Katrine Sporle added:
“The industry is very much aware that the Government is concerned about transparency and wants consumers to be able to make informed choices. The results of this survey will provide an indication of how agents have adapted their procedures since the previous survey and, importantly, following the release of NTSELAT’s referral fee guidance”.
The guidance on referral fees was produced by the National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team with assistance from NAEA Propertymark, the Property Ombudsman, Property Redress Scheme, the Guild of Property Professionals and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. It is available to download here.
Agents who need further advice on the guidance should contact their professional body or trade association. Members of the public should raise any concerns about referral fees not being disclosed to Citizen’s Advice on 03454 04 05 06.
Notes to Editors
About the National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team
The National Trading Standards Estate & Letting Agency Team is hosted by Powys County Council (PCC) and Bristol City Council (BCC). The Secretary of State has designated Powys County Council as the lead enforcement authority for the purposes of the Estate Agents Act 1979, and Bristol City Council as the lead enforcement authority for the purposes of the Tenant Fees Act 2019.
About National Trading Standards
National Trading Standards delivers national and regional consumer protection enforcement. Its Board is made up of senior and experienced heads of local government trading standards from around England and Wales with an independent Chair. Its purpose is to protect consumers and safeguard legitimate businesses by tackling serious national and regional consumer protection issues and organised criminality and by providing a “safety net” to limit unsafe consumer goods entering the UK and protecting food supplies by ensuring the animal feed chain is safe.