FAQs on Compliance

1. Which offers must we put forward to our client?

The EAA stipulates that all offers must be put forward to clients.  This must be done in writing, regardless of how else it is done.  “In writing” can be by letter, fax or email. It does not include text messaging.  Currently the only exception to this is where your client advises you, in writing, that they do not wish to receive details of offers below a specified figure.  However, in order to meet the Ombudsman’s requirements you must also confirm offers to the applicant, in writing.

2. Do I need to disclose a personal interest if a friend of mine wishes me to market a property?

Under the EAA friends are not classified as “connected persons” & as such no disclosure is required, unless they have some other link to the estate agency business or are an employee.  However, a general rule of thumb is to include a disclosure where you are unclear as to whether a legal disclosure is required.  This is because to make a disclosure when there is no requirement to do so is not a breach of the Act, but to fail to disclosure when there is a requirement will be a breach.

3. Is it essential to obtain a client’s approval of Sales Particulars before marketing can begin?

Obtaining your client’s approval of property particulars is good due diligence and the Ombudsman sees it as best practice and requires approval to be obtained.  Notwithstanding this, having client’s approval on file does not necessarily provide an agent with a due diligence defence; this would depend on other steps taken by the agents to ensure the descriptions were accurate.

4. Will my general disclaimer provide me with a defence, if I make a mistake on a set of Sales Particulars?

The inclusion of a general disclaimer is recommended for all agents; however, this will provide you with little protection under the Consumer Protection Regulations (CPR).  The legal precedents require CPR disclaimers to be as “Bold, Precise & Compelling” as the descriptions they attempt to disclaim, which of course general disclaimers at the beginning or end of Sales Particulars are not.  The purpose of the general disclaimer is to firstly, persuade potential purchasers not to rely on the descriptions provided and thus make additional enquiries to verify a situation and secondly to provide you with protection from civil action by any ultimate purchaser.

David's Philosophy

My clients take compliance matters very seriously and I have spend many years working proactively and reactively to provide them with cost effective solutions. My success is based, not only on the unique expertise I hold, but also around my ability to balance the need for compliance with commercial reality. Whatever your needs, I am happy to discuss them and the services we can offer to meet them on a no obligation basis. Email me at david@compliance-matters.co.uk or ring my office on 0161 727 0798

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Significant changes to estate agents obligations were imposed by the new Money Laundering Regulations in June this year.  The big focus has been on the need to confirm the ID of buyers as well as sellers; however, the legislation also requires agents to make a number of other changes. HMRC also published guidance on how […]