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Disclose referral fees or face government action, estate agents warned

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  • 28/02/2020
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Disclose referral fees or face government action, estate agents warned
Estate agents have been told to make referral fees more transparent before the government consults on whether they should be banned.

 

Trading standards has today given the findings of a year-long investigation into estate agent referral fees to ministers. 

Speaking at the NAEA Propertymark annual conference before delivering the report, James Munro, senior manager at National Trading Standards warned estate agents to get their act together.

Munro said: “Here’s my plea to you; get these referral fees out there, make them as transparent as possible for when the minister makes a decision.” 

“It is quite straightforward, what we’re asking you to do is where you have a referral arrangement tell people you’ve got a referral arrangement. If you get a fee, tell people how much that is,” he added.

In February last year, National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT) announced it would monitor the estate agency sector for 12 months to assess whether existing fee transparency was effective or further action would be required. 

This was in response to then-housing and homelessness minister Heather Wheeler who warned estate agents to inform clients of referral fees received when recommending a mortgage adviser, solicitor or conveyancer or face a complete ban.

At the time, NTSEAT also issued guidance which told estate agents to disclose referral arrangements at the earliest opportunity in writing. It said any failure to do so could result in the agent being liable for criminal prosecution.

 

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