Southborne, England – November 27, 2012 – When the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced changes to the Estate Agent’s Act of 1979, questions arose about how this announcement conflicted with the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) issuance of guidance on how to comply with legislation concerning consumer protection. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RCIS) expressed concerns that whilst the OFT’s guidance seemed to benefit estate agents by clarifying their responsibilities to their clients, the BIS’s amendments to the Estate Agents Act had the potential to harm many buyers and sellers in the housing market.

The RCIS was particularly concerned about businesses that have websites on the Internet that publish adverts or information about homes for sale. These businesses are known as "passive intermediaries," and because of changes made to the Estate Agent’s Act, they are now outside the scope and regulation of the act. The change will put home buyers and sellers at risk because those intermediaries are not required to verify information about the homes they publish information about; it will also make it more difficult for home buyers and sellers to distinguish between intermediaries and estate agents.

Estate Agencies like Newstead Estate and Letting Agents are also concerned about the changes that the BIS has made. In response to the amendments, Carl Mirauer, managing director of the agency, stated, "We hold our estate agents to strict standards of performance, and they carry out all of the necessary checks prior to marketing a property. ‘Passive Intermediaries’ are not held to the same standard, and this leaves home buyers and sellers vulnerable." Newstead, an innovative estate agency, offers superior service for clients interested in property sales and estate and letting services.

So that estate agents may better understand the OFT’s guidance and to ensure that agents are in compliance with consumer protection laws, the RICS has published advice and will also host a number of conferences to assist agents with compliance. The conferences are scheduled throughout autumn and winter.


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Carl Mirauer, Director of Newstead Estate and Letting Agents

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Carl Mirauer
Newstead Estate Agents
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