Estate Agent Regulation Moves To Powys County Council

New National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team

03.04.2014

Powys County Council has formally taken over responsibility for the regulation of the work of estate agents from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) yesterday (April 1st) and will be delivering the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT) on behalf of the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB).

The local authority has now taken control of regulation and enforcement of the Estate Agents Act 1979 across the whole of the United Kingdom, which governs the industry and calls on agents to act in the best interests of clients and ensure buyers and sellers are treated fairly, honestly and promptly.

In addition, Powys County Council now holds responsibility for the maintenance of a public register of banning and warning orders.

The local authority also has to approve and monitor the performance of consumer redress schemes and provide advice to firms and consumers regarding their rights or obligations.

Expert Opinion
The Job of overseeing the regulation of the conduct of Estate Agents falls now to Powys County Council who have taken over from the OFT. They will have responsibility for regulating the conduct of estate agents and assessing fitness to carry out estate agency work.

"In terms of the process, trading standards officers will conduct investigations into breaches of the Estate Agents Act and decide whether to prosecute for offences under the act. They will refer the case to the local authority if an estate agent has acted dishonestly or there has been a violation of the act and the team will consider whether to issue the estate agent with a banning or warning order.

"Banning or Warning Orders can be made against any individual, company, or anyone employed by them. The estate agent and/or employee will be provided with 21 days from receipt of the notice to make any representations.

"Representations may be made orally, in writing or both. The estate agent and/or individual concerned may wish to seek legal advice in deciding how to proceed and representation to make any submissions on their behalf. Estate Agents and/or individuals also have the right to appeal against the decision of the adjudicator to the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

"Engaging with the regulatory process where investigations are undertaken is extremely important. A ruling to ban an estate agent would potentially destroy an individual’s career and their business or the wider reputation of the business."
Yogi Amin, Partner