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New Rules on what Estate Agents must tell buyers

Tuesday 17 May 2022

Currently buyers can go as far as paying for a survey and starting the conveyancing process before finding out their dream property has a restrictive covenant in place or that the property is leasehold. Not only is this extremely frustrating for buyers but also wastes a lot of time and money, should the perspective buyers decide not to proceed with the sale.

At David Phillip Estate Agents we welcome the changes being brought which will make the process much more transparent and possibly save time in the long run by identifying anything that may have a financial implication. Issues that may affect the buyer will be flagged up early run which is key.

Estate Agents have a legal obligation to buyers to discuss ‘fair’ information to home buyers and sellers, which includes making marketing materials about a property clear, unambiguous and not deliberately misleading or withholding information from buyers – so, for example, not revealing any planning permission, saying that a bathroom is fully tiled if it isn’t, saying a house has been re-decorated if it’s only one room  and saying that there is double glazing throughout if one small window isn’t.

Agents are not allowed to say anything verbally to potential buyers that is misleading, they are also expected to reveal why previous sales have fallen through on the property.

First Phase – Part A changes

From May 2022, Part A changes will see the following now included in the marketing information accompanying the property listing

  • Council tax band or rate
  • The price – Estate Agents are no longer able to advertise a property as POA
  • Tenure information on properties for sale (freehold or leasehold)
  • Details of any reservation fees to be included
  • Shared ownership must include the percentage of shares being offered for sale, as well as, the amount of rent on the share not being sold

Information on Council tax, price and tenure are added to portals like Rightmove and Zoopla – if the sections are left empty  this will be flagged up to the potential buyers so that they can see what is missing.

Second Phase – Part B and C changes

These are currently being developed and will roll out over the coming months and incorporate further material information such as restrictive covenants (this may mean you own your home but that doesn’t mean that your can do with it as you choose), flood risk and other specific factors that may impact on certain properties.

Under the Consumer Protection: unfair trading regulations 2008, estate agents must comply with strict rules. The law applies to estate agents, property developers and websites that introduce buyers to sellers. And, if these are deemed to be acting unfairly, Agents can be issued with limitless fines.

As well as Estate Agents legal obligations to buyers, estate agents that are members of the Property Ombudsman must also adhere to its Code of Practice for residential estate agents. David Phillip Estate Agents are members of the Property Ombudsman.

So, if you are considering selling your home and would like information around the new legal obligations or would like a free market appraisal with David Phillip FRICS call now on 01134 676 400. a: 86, Leeds Road, Bramhope, Leeds , LS19 9AN

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