Property Misdescriptions Act Repealed – Coodes’ Peter Lamble explains

Tue 1st Oct 2013

Up until the 1st October if Enforcement agencies wanted to flex muscle they generally leafed the pages of the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 . However this was repealed on 1 October 2013.

From now on if they wish to work out on an Estate Agent they will have to get to grips with both the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPR) and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008. A two for one arrangement as it were.

In order to assist them , and give those Estate Agents that they pursue a sporting chance to avoid becoming the mouse of the relationship , the OFT have issued guidance on property sales.

Key points are these;-

  • If you do not comply with the law you may face civil and/or criminal sanctions.
  • You may find the guidance relevant to other parts of your business too, for example the regulations also apply to lettings and property management.
  • In respect of your advertisements, both online and in print media, you could be subject to a published adjudication of the Advertising Standards Authority.
  • If you belong to a professional body, you may face its disciplinary procedures and/or expulsion from its membership.
  • You could also lose your customers, some of whom may have the right to take legal action against you. If a consumer complains to an approved redress scheme, and the complaint is upheld, you may be required to pay compensation or make an apology
  • The CPRsprohibit you from engaging in “unfair commercial practices” when you deal with consumers. Several examples are given.
  • The BPRsprohibit you from engaging in misleading activities in your dealings with other businesses.

What you must do;-

  • To satisfy your obligations under the CPRs and BPRs, you need to treat consumers, business customers and competitors fairly. It will help if you can show that you act diligently, in keeping with any professional standards and taking reasonable steps to avoid committing a breach.

To view the OFT guidelines click the link hereOFT Estate agents.

If you have any concerns regarding how these changes may affect your business documents please contact Kirsty McAuley on 01872 246 215 or email kirsty.mcauley@coodes.co.uk.

Tue 1st Oct 2013

Peter Lamble

Chair & Partner

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