Your estate agent has a legal obligation to act professionally on your behalf. If you feel misled, mistreated or fear illegal activity has taken place, you’re within your rights to officially complain.
Often an estate agent will do what they can to quickly resolve any issues or problems. However, in the event that you wish to take a complaint further, there’s plenty of guidance and support to help you do so.
What are an Estate Agent’s Legal Requirements?
Estate Agents must not deliberately mislead any property seller or potential buyer. The Estate Agents Act 1979 and the Unfair Contract Terms Act outline the rules that all estate agents must follow. These include:
- Providing details of all fees in writing before they agree to act for you.
- Providing a written explanation of the terms ‘sole selling rights’, ‘sole agency’, or ‘ready, willing, and able purchaser’, if they plan to include these in your contract.
- Making sure any information they provide is accurate and honest. This means they can’t falsely claim to be a member of a professional body, or misrepresent a property on their books.
- Acting in a professional and well-paced manner. Agents may not show bias towards or against any potential buyers, and are required to pass on all offers to the seller. You shouldn’t feel rushed into raising prices, or skipping surveys.
- Every estate agent, including on-line firms, should be registered with The Property Ombudsman.
How do I take my complaint further?
If you’re unhappy with the way an estate agent deals with your complaint, you can take it further with The Property Ombudsman.
The Property Ombudsman will hear your complaint and refer it for investigation and review. Any awards given in favour of the customer are usually small (£100-£500). But the success rate is pretty high. Around 40% of complaints receive some form of compensation.
Most agents are also members of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) . If an agency is in breach of their codes of practice they can face disciplinary action.