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OFT launches consultation for estate agents and developers in UK

The new guidance focuses on two pieces of law: the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008

It follows the OFT's Home Buying and Selling Study which found that many estate agents said the industry needed more guidance on the law.
The guidance seeks to clarify how the regulations apply to estate agency work. It identifies examples of trading practices that could breach the regulations as well as practical steps that businesses can take to comply with the law.

It covers compliance relating to when they advertise for new business, including through flyers and newspaper adverts, when they provide advice to new clients and take new instructions, when they market properties, including when property details are put on internet portals, when they negotiate and make sales and when they deal with complaints.

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

‘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,’ he added.

The consultation closes on 9 December 2011.