Over six months ago the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team revealed new industry guidance to make referral fees more transparent to consumers.[
Failure to disclose referral arrangements may render an estate agent liable for criminal prosecution under the CPRs and/or action by NTSEAT for warning or prohibition under the Estate Agents Act 1979. The government wants referral fees to be transparent and would consider banning the fees if this could not be achieved by the industry.
“Current indications are that not all estate agents are making their referral fee arrangements more transparent. A consequence could be a referral fee ban across the board, and a total referral fee ban would probably have a significant financial impact on thousands of estate agencies and a high number of conveyancing firms.” Says Rob Hailstone, CEO of the Bold Legal Group
In addition, and as a result of the Governments Call for Evidence, the possible introduction of Reservation Agreements and providing more information up front (don’t mention the word HIP!), will also have an effect on the way conveyancers and estate agents work together.
Rob continued; “I am currently selling a property and the lack of communication (and chain transparency) between all parties involved is lamentable. I am now experiencing the frustrations that many home buyers and sellers are facing, feeling like them that their transaction has fallen into a black hole and everyone is working in their own sealed silo.
“However, having worked at the coal face of conveyancing for 30 years I know how good and helpful a harmonious relationship between agent and conveyancer can be. Although easy to develop, these good working relationships are, it would seem, few and far between.”
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