From 1 October, all estate agents dealing with residential property in the UK have been required to belong to a recognised redress scheme. Estate agents in England and Wales who offer Home Information Packs (HIPs) are already required to belong to an approved redress scheme. The move represents a further attempt by the Government to improve consumer protection in a profession with a chequered history.
Two existing schemes, operated by the Ombudsman for Estate Agents and the Surveyors Ombudsman Service, have already been approved and a further scheme is under consideration.
The measures will give the Office of Fair Trading greater powers to remove rogue estate agents from the market and will give greater investigatory powers to enforcement officers.
Estate agents who fail to register will be subject to a fine and may be banned from operating as estate agents if their transgressions continue.
Visit the Office of Fair Trading site for more information and links to redress schemes.