Paul Jager

Paul Jager

The 2 Minute Guide to The Estate Agents Act and related legislation

When you only have 2 minutes to spare but absolutely need to know about residential property law then these MOL guides are for you. Here is the first.

What you absolutely must know about the Estate Agents Act in 2 minutes – start the clock!

. It is an offence to discriminate against a buyer because they refuse to take a service through you. For example, you cannot suggest to a seller that they favour one offer compared to another simply because one buyer has agreed to take your mortgage services and the other hasn’t.

. You must inform a client in writing if you plan on offering services to a buyer AND you must inform the seller in writing if subsequently any of those services are provided. For example, your terms and conditions would detail services you intend to offer buyers. This might include mortgages or removals. If the buyer took any of these then the seller would need to be informed in writing as soon as is reasonably possible.

. It is an offence to mislead a seller about an offer. For example, telling them that the buyer has their own property under offer when you know that this isn’t the case.  

. It is an offence to mislead a potential buyer about offers or the status of other buyers.  For example, telling the potential buyer that you have other offers when you have no offers, or the offers are for higher than they are, or the offer has been made by a first time buyer or someone in a position to proceed when that is not the case

. All offers must be given to the seller in writing. This must continue up to exchange of contracts (unless you have permission from the seller not too – and as with all things that may need to be proved in the future, get this authorisation in writing).

. If you or someone connected to you, as defined in the Act, wants to buy a property your agency is marketing then this must be disclosed to the seller, in writing, prior to negotiations starting. For example, if your sister is interested in a flat you are selling then their offer would be accompanied by details confirming their relationship to you.

. If you or someone connected to you, as defined by the Act, wants to sell a property, you must disclose this in writing to interested parties before entering into negotiations.  For example, if you are selling your sister’s flat, this must be disclosed to any party showing an interest in buying the flat

. Terms and Conditions must be provided in writing to the client prior to them instructing an agency (they do not need to be signed and returned but best practice suggests they are).

Want to know what other obligations you have as an agent under this legislation? MOL provides a range of property qualifications accreddited by Propertymark.