Vickery HolmanVickery Holman

The South West Specialists

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Legal Update

On 1st October 2013 the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 (PMA) was repealed due to the existence of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs). In addition the Estate Agent Act 1979 (EAA) saw the definition of Estate Agent change to specifically exclude “Passive Intermediaries”.

So what does this mean?

In summary this means that property agents (along with any other property sales businesses i.e. estate agents, buyers’ agents, internet property retailers, property auctioneers or solicitors offering services that count as estate agency work) are responsible for ensuring that they do not include misleading or false statements within the information they provide to potential consumers, as was the case with the PMA. However they are now responsible for divulging any material information which if left undisclosed could alter a consumers decision making process on whether to purchase a property or even view a property. This means that agents can no longer rely on caveat emptor (buyer beware) as defense against prosecution.

The diagram opposite has been provided by the OFT to explain the regulation process:
Finally the change of the definition of estate agent to exclude Passive Intermediaries means that things such as private sale portals which merely enable private sellers to advertise their properties and provide a means for sellers and buyers to contact and communicate with one another is now out of the scope of the EAA. The hope is that this will facilitate further competition and allow other business models to be set up as they will not have to comply with the EAA.