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Consumer and business protection regulations

Consumer and business protection regulations

In 2008, regulations changed the traditional relationship between agents and their seller client. Find out how to comply.

The Office of Fair Trading provides guidance on how to comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) and Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations (BPRs) in relation to property sales.

Agents will need to examine their processes, as the implications of the CPRs and BPRs mark a significant departure from previous ways of working. Agents can no longer rely upon compliance with the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 or caveat emptor to provide them with protection from prosecution. The Office of Fair Trading guidance introduces concepts such as ‘average consumer’, ‘the transactional decision’ and ‘material information’.

If members are found not to have complied with the CPRs or BPRs they may face civil and/or criminal action.

A number of consumer enforcement bodies, such as local authority Trading Standards Officers (TSOs), have a duty to enforce these regulations, and are taking an increased interest in the sector. In a recent case a national firm of estate agents was fined and awarded cost against amounting to nearly £10,000.

RICS published an information alert for members on the same day as the OFT guidance on CPRs/BPRs and property sales was issued.

Find out more about regulation