Earlier this week the Office for Fair Trading published draft guidance aimed at assisting developers and estate agents to comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008. 

Although primarily aimed at estate agents dealing with the disposal of residential properties, the guidance also applies to property developers and house builders who market and sell their own residential developments.

  The purpose of the guidance is to provide an overview of the Regulations and then set out in detail some of the examples of the types of trading practices or conduct that are likely to be in breach of the Regulations.  It also provides some proposed practical steps which estate agents or developers may wish to take to ensure compliance with the law. 

The draft guidance sets out various examples of potential breaches including:-

  • Mis-describing the main characteristics of the property for sale (e.g. location and number and size of rooms)
  • Using out of date photographs that no longer provide a true picture of the property 
  • Giving mis-leading information about service charges
  • Failing to provide relevant information that you are aware of about the fitness of the property for sale (for example there are serious hidden defects)
  • Engaging in high pressure sale techniques (for example persistent and/or aggressive telephone calls to induce the buyer to act quickly to exchange or complete)

These are just some of the many examples.

There are then a series of practical steps which parties can take to ensure compliance with the regulations. 

The draft guidance has been published for public consultation.  The consultation closes on 9 December 2011. 

See the link attached for a copy of the draft guidance.