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Estate Agents

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) when he plans to implement the requirement that estate agents join an Office of Fair Trading approved complaints scheme under the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007; (200263)

(2) how many representations he has received (a) for and (b) against retaining the statutory estate agent contractual terms (i) ready willing and able and (ii) sole selling rights.

The Secretary of State can only make an order requiring estate agents to belong to an approved redress scheme once the Office of Fair Trading has approved at least one scheme open to all estate agents. Subject to the OFT approving a scheme, I expect to commence an order requiring redress scheme membership on 1 October 2008.

The Estate Agents (Provision of Information) Regulations 1991 include statutory definitions for specified contract terms that deal with who can sell a property and in what circumstances commission is payable to an estate agent. The recent estate agents consultation sought views on alternative versions of the statutory definitions. The bulk of the respondents to the consultation restricted their comments to amending the statutory definitions, but two of them expressed views against retaining the terms ‘sole selling rights’ and ‘ready, willing and able purchaser’. One respondent called for ‘sole selling rights’ to be removed, whereas the other called for both terms to be prohibited. We are currently reviewing the responses.