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Government quizzed over progress on home sales tied to in-house estate agency advice

  • 11/04/2023
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Government quizzed over progress on home sales tied to in-house estate agency advice
The government has been asked to explain what it’s doing to ensure that estate agents are not employing conditional selling practices which are against the rules.

Tan Dhesi, a shadow minister for transport, wrote to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities department to ask whether an assessment had been made on how well estate agents are complying with the Estate Agents Act 1979. This covered both general compliance, but also the specific practice of conditional sales and the use of in-house mortgage advisers.

Conditional selling has long been a bugbear of independent mortgage brokers, with estate agents across the country accused of insisting prospective buyers use their own in-house mortgage advisers as a condition of submitting an offer. In doing so, the broker loses the client, while there have also been concerns that if the estate agent’s adviser only works with a limited lending panel, the buyer may be missing out on the right product to boot.

Last year saw Access FS launch a campaign to try to eliminate conditional selling, which included a free template letter which brokers can send to estate agents outlining that the practice is against The Property Ombudsman’s code of practice.

Rachel Maclean, minister of state at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said that the government was continuing to “work closely” with the National Trading Standards Estate and Lettings Agency Team.

This is the body tasked with overseeing the enforcement of the Estate Agents Act, including the issuing of warning and prohibition orders, and monitoring how agents disclose referral fees for third-party providers.

However, Maclean had nothing to say specifically about conditional selling.

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