The Government has announced that the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 (PMA) will be repealed and the main regulations to protect purchasers of property will now be the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPR).
The main categories of the CPR are principle based and only apply if a practice is likely to have an effect on the transactional decision of the average consumer. The definition of a transactional decision is widely defined and can include just a decision to view a property or instruct a survey. The definition of an average consumer is someone who is reasonably well informed and reasonably observant, this does mean that any information given should be based on the average consumer and not just the actual consumer. The regulations specifically provide higher requirements for the information given to vulnerable groups which include the elderly and first time buyers.
The widening of the regulations to cover more activities which can be deemed unfair and the higher standards expected in respect of vulnerable groups (in particular first time buyers who are the main purchasers from Registered Providers), means all sales teams must ensure they are fully aware of the new regulations and how this affects the information they provide to potential buyers.