When preparing to market a Property for sale or letting, Estate Agents and Letting Agents need to be mindful of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs). The previous legislation in this area, the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 (PMA) was repealed on 1 October 2013.
Our new Approval of Particulars Forms will help Agents to ensure that their written particulars comply with the CPRs and BPRs.
When do the CPRs and BPRs apply?
The CPRs and BPRs apply to a wide range of businesses, not just Estate Agents and Letting Agents. They impose a general prohibition on unfair commercial practices. The CPRs apply where the Property Owner is a consumer. The BPRs apply where the Owner is acting in the course of a business.
Although the Regulations have been in existence since 2008, many Property Professionals have not really engaged with them until more recently. This is because, until 1 October 2013, the PMA was the better known method of seeking redress in cases where Property particulars were misleading.
What was the scope of the PMA?
The PMA applied only to Estate Agents, i.e. Agents marketing freeholds or long leaseholds for sale. The PMA prohibited Agents from making false or misleading statements about properties for sale. There were criminal penalties for failing to comply with the PMA.
What is the scope of the CPRs and BPRs?
The CPRs and BPRs have a wider scope, applying also to Lettings Agents and Property Managers dealing with both commercial and residential premises. In particular, as well as ensuring that the information provided to prospective Buyers and Tenants is accurate, Agents must also ensure that no relevant information is omitted.
As with the PMA, there are criminal penalties for Agents who fail to comply with the CPRs and BPRs.
To ensure that your Agency complies with the CPRs and BPRs, a key step is to provide training to staff and to keep management practices under regular review.
You also need to ensure that Sellers and Landlords share all relevant information about their property with you. Our new Approval of Particulars Forms will help you here. A Form is given to the Owner along with the draft sale or letting particulars. The Form explains the need to provide complete and accurate information about the property. The Owner signs the Form to confirm that the particulars are approved or to specify any amendments that are required.
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute
legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific