In light of the recent vote in favour of leaving the European Union, the current regulations governing property misdescription, including the legislative instrument in their implementation, could be affected.
The offence of misdescribing property was contained within the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991. This Act prescribed 33 specific matters about which false or misleading statements must not be made in the course of offering a property for sale. These did not, however, apply to the provision of conveyancing and did not affect letting terms.
Although this provided a level of protection for property purchasers, the Property Misdescriptions Act was narrow and quickly became outdated as different ways to get around the law were devised. The Consumer Protection Regulations were a breath of fresh air, being wider in their scope as they applied to any business with a consumer relationship, including lettings. These 2008 regulations transposed into UK law under the European Union Unfair Commercial Practices Directive but, following the vote for Brexit, the future of European-based legislation is now uncertain.
A Government document published prior to the referendum considered the effects on the UK in the event of a vote to leave. It was considered that, should the UK invoke Article 50, our Government would need to unravel the regulatory framework from European Law and implement necessary legislation to ensure that a robust legal and regulatory framework remains - regardless of what the future holds for the UK.
In the meantime, the UK has an obligation to comply with the directives and regulations remains until it actually leaves the European Union. As the Government had placed an emphasis on better consumer protection, it is likely that the European Union Unfair Commercial Practices Directive will stay in some form or another.