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Legislation

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Estate Agents Act 1979

This Act imposes certain duties on estate agents, including information which should be given to their clients. When you first engage an estate agent you should receive written details about the agency’s fees and terms of business. Any offers they receive about your property should then be passed on to you promptly and in writing. You should also receive information about any services an estate agent may offer potential buyers of your property and any personal interests the agency may have in the transaction.

The Act is policed by the Trading Standards Service and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). If an estate agent breaks the law the OFT can issue a warning order and in the most serious cases a prohibition order can be issued, which can ban someone from estate agency work.

Since 1 October 2008 estate agents involved in residential sales have been required to register with an approved redress scheme, which can consider complaints against the estate agent from consumers. Failure to join such a scheme attracts a £1,000 penalty charge and if the failure persists, the agency can be banned.