Estate agents ‘will be liable’ if property info is wrong, warns National Trading Standards

Comments are made by Emma Cooke alongside other property experts during a new Irwin Mitchell podcast.

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Agents have been warned that they need to provide a raft of detailed property details when new Consumer Protection Regulations take effect next month, says Trading Standards.

The group of industry experts including a National Trading Standards representative have also highlighted how not providing vital information will be deemed as serious as being ‘misleading’.

By the end of May, all property listings will need to contain its council tax band or rate, the property price and tenure information (for sales).

As the new data fields are added to portals, those left empty by an agent will be flagged on the listing so that consumers can see what’s missing. This will link to advice on why that information is important and how they can get it.

Details of the next two phases will be announced later this spring. Phase two includes details such as restrictive covenants and flood risk while phase three includes anything that might influence the buyer’s decision such as parking permit details, heat sources and whether the property is listed.

Found liable

emma cook trading standardsSpeaking on a podcast with Irwin Mitchell’s head of residential property and Kate Faulkner, owner of, Emma Cooke (pictured), policy and information manager at National Trading Standards, said the rules covered omission of information, if an agent hid it or provided it in an untimely manner.

“If a consumer’s transactional decision is impacted before, during or after entering into a contract, agents can be found liable if investigated,” explained Cooke. A breach could lead to an unlimited fine and/or up to two years in prison,” sad Cooke.

She added: “When consumers become more educated, they’re empowered and can start asking questions – agents need to be prepared for that.”

All the speakers agreed that the new process could speed up housing transactions, particularly if sellers got their legal work done up front. Said Faulkner: “People want change. Nobody wants to be eight weeks into an offer being made only to wait for the lender to make their offer before they do the searches. It’s the right thing for consumers and will help the industry.”

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