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Estate Agents

Volume 687: debated on Thursday 30 November 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to extend the regulation of estate agents. [HL208]

The Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Bill (introduced on 16 November 2006) will improve the regulation of estate agents in the United Kingdom by requiring estate agents to make and keep adequate records. It will also give the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and local trading standards officers wider powers to inspect records where they have reasonable cause to suspect that an offence has been committed under the Estate Agents Act 1979 or that a person has committed other breaches under the Act. This will make it easier for enforcers to identify serious misconduct by estate agents and to take appropriate action against them. The Bill will also expand the circumstances in which the OFT can consider the fitness of estate agents to practise and consequently take regulatory action against them.

In addition, this Bill will enable the Government to make it compulsory for all estate agents in the United Kingdom to belong to an OFT-approved redress scheme, ensuring that buyers and sellers of residential property have a means of redress when they have a legitimate grievance against an estate agent.