OFT consults on draft guidance for estate agents

The Office of Fair Trading has today launched a consultation on draft guidance to estate agents and property developers which aims to help firms comply with the law.

The new guidance focuses on two pieces of law: the 2008 consumer protection from unfair trading regulations and the 2008 business protection from misleading marketing regulations.

It follows the OFT’s home buying and selling study, which found that many estate agents believe the industry needs more guidance on the law, and aims to clarify how these regulations apply to estate agents.

It identifies examples of trading practices that could breach the regulations as well as steps that firms can take to comply with the law when they advertise for new business, provide advice to consumers, market properties, negotiate and make sales, and deal with complaints.

Cavendish Elithorn, senior director of the OFT’s Goods and Consumer Group, says: “Buying a property is one of the biggest purchases people make and can also be one of the most stressful.

“Unfair business practices can cause substantial consumer harm and this guidance has been designed to help estate agents and property developers understand what they need to do to comply with the law.”

The consultation is open until December 9 2011.