01 March 2019
National Trading Standards has published new guidance on referral fees received by estate agents across the UK, which will make previously hidden fees open and transparent to consumers.
The new guidance was produced by the NTS Estate Agency Team with assistance from NAEA Propertymark, the Property Ombudsman, Property Redress Scheme, the Guild of Property Professionals and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. It will work to improve transparency in the estate agency sector as part of the Government's aim to improve the home buying and selling process.
The NTS Estate Agency team was asked to examine the legal controls around the transparency of such fees in the sector by Government officials last year. The team concluded that referral fees for connected services are permissible, but should be disclosed by agents to sellers and buyers alike.
Heather Wheeler, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, said that the Government wanted referral fees to be transparent and would consider banning the fees if this could not be achieved by the industry.
National Trading Standards will report to Ministers on compliance with its guidance after monitoring the market for the coming 12 months.
(Source: National Trading Standards, 28 February 2019)