Housing minister admits ‘no new plan’ to tackle agency conditional selling

Rachel Maclean tells parliament her department is not taking specific action on conditional selling to house buyers by estate agents’ in-house mortgage advisers.

Conditional selling

The Government appears to have brushed aside concerns over conditional selling to house buyers by estate agents’ in-house mortgage advisers.

The practice happens when sales negotiators assert or strongly suggest that a buyer’s offer will not be passed to a vendor unless they agree to use the agency’s additional in-house services, such as mortgage advice or legal services.

As well as being professionally unethical it is also illegal and runs contrary to the 1979 Estate Agent Act. But some agents ignore the law, much to the chagrin of independent mortgage advisers; clients are often reluctant to complain for fear of missing out on properties.

PRACTICE

And now the Government appears to have brushed aside concerns about the bad practice.

Tan Dhesi, MP
Tan Dhesi, MP

Tan Dhesi, Labour MP for Slough and Shadow Transport Minister, wrote to Rachel Maclean, the Minister of State, Home Department, the Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities seeking clarity on the issue.

He wanted to know whether estate agents were being compliant with the 1979 Estate Agents Act and “specifically with regards to conditional sales and the use of in-house mortgage advisers”.

But Dhesi’s concerns appear to have been sidestepped, with Maclean’s reply making no mention of the practice.

ENFORCEMENT

Maclean replied: “We continue to work closely with the National Trading Standards Estate and Lettings Agency Team who oversee the enforcement of the Estate Agents Act 1979, including issuing of warning and prohibition orders and monitoring of agents’ disclosure of referral fees for third-party service providers.”

Read more about conditional selling HERE.


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