Tom Keighley

Member Article

Changes to free up private house advertisers

Businesses that help homeowners privately advertise their houses, without involvement in the sales process, will no longer be subject to various regulations aimed at estate agents.

Consumer Affairs Minister, Jo Swinson, announced that intermediary agents will be exempt from the Estate Agents Act 1979.

Government will also repeal the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 (PMA), which currently requires these businesses to check the accuracy of advertised property details.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the PMA has largely been superseded by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and the Business Protection from Misleading Advertising Regulations.

The move is intended to make sure businesses do not face disproportionate costs as a result of regulations intended for traditional estate agents.

Jo Swinson said: “A flourishing housing market is hugely important to the economy, and one of the ways to boost it is to cut through bureaucracy and allow people to buy and sell more easily. This is why we are proposing to change the rules so that businesses that facilitate private property sales aren’t caught out by the regulations for estate agents.

“These intermediaries help buyers and sellers contact each other at a low cost, but don’t engage in other estate agent activities, so it’s unfair to expect them to go out and check all the property details of all the sellers on their websites.

“Reducing the regulations for these businesses will open up the market and increase choices for consumers looking to save costs when buying or selling a property.

“Selling privately can be a useful and cost efficient method, but consumers should always make sure they are well informed about the different levels of protection offered by these businesses compared to traditional estate agents.”

Findings from the “Disruptive Business Models” theme of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge informed the changes.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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