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National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team’s industry guidance on referral fees

National Trading Standards has published new guidance on referral fees received by estate agents across the UK, which will make previously hidden fees open and transparent to consumers.

The new guidance was produced by the NTS Estate Agency Team with assistance from The Property Ombudsman, NAEA Propertymark, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Guild of Property Professionals and the Property Redress Scheme.

The NTS Estate Agency Team guidance concludes that referral fees for connected services are permissible, but in accordance with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, should be disclosed by agents to sellers and buyers where relevant. The guidance also includes a number of examples as well as a model form that agents should use to provide the fee information to consumers.

National Trading Standards are due to report to Ministers on agent compliance with its guidance after monitoring the market for the next 12 months. Ministers have confirmed that a ban on referrals fees remains on the table and will be considered against the results of the monitoring.

The guidance on ‘transparency of fees’ can be found here.

Mark McLaren, Chair of TPO’s Consumer Forum and Non-Executive Board Member commented:

“It is important for both buyers and sellers to be aware of the true cost of any service being recommended by estate agents. Whether this is relates to conveyancing, removal firms or producing Energy Performance Certificates, clearly disclosing the benefit that the agent will receive at the earliest possible stage is the right thing to do. By providing this important information, consumers can compare the services on offer and make an informed decision.”

The NTS Estate Agency team have advised that agents who need further advice should contact their professional body or trade association and that members of the public should raise any concerns about referral fees not being disclosed to Citizen’s Advice on 03454 04 05 06.
Categories: TPO News


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