Revised guidelines have been released by The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT) focussing on property sales and associated regulations.
The draft guidelines are designed to replace previous guidance originally released by the former Office of Fair Trading, which are now deemed to be in need of an update.
The 47-page draft document was reviewed by 12 industry bodies, including the Independent Network of Estate Agents (INEA), before being released to a wider audience.
The guidelines largely focus on giving agents advice as to how best to interpret both the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations from the same year.
They are aimed at assisting a wide range of property professionals, including estate agents, internet property agents, auctioneers, buyers’ agents, solicitors involved in estate agency work, and developers and sellers who work independently or run their own businesses.
The document is also designed to offer guidance to anyone else with professional involvement in this type of work, or related ancillary services.
One of the document’s appendices specifies 12 other regulations, in addition to the BPRs and CPRs, which may also require consideration in certain circumstances encountered by agents and property professionals.
The document features comprehensive information and advice relating to the regulations, including a section on enforcement and the potential for leeway to be granted if an indiscretion is judged to be a one-off rather than an example of flawed and systematic business practices.
It does, however, warn of the dangers of poor practice, which range from civil and criminal sanctions and Advertising Standards Authority adjudications to loss of business and possible legal action brought about by customers.
The INEA says that the draft guidelines reflect industry changes seen in recent years. It says they are the result of far-reaching research into how best the requisite changes can be made in order to create a level and improved playing field marked by consumer satisfaction and good agency practice.
The guidelines require that all property professionals consider how current regulations apply to their work and that they make any necessary changes to ensure adherence.
It is also advised that managers and owners should ensure that all staff members fully understand the law and the importance of compliance since the company could be held accountable for any failures on their part.
The NTSEAT is requesting feedback on the document before the final version is released. Opinions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.