Although estate agents are meant to make the process of selling or buying property easier, dealing with them can sometimes be stressful. In fact, some estate agents are cunning and will either lie, mislead or mistreat you in the course of the transaction.
Eventually, you may end up losing money or not being able to sell your property and look to a company online that can offer a ‘we buy any house’ cash sale service. How then, should you manage such complains concerning your estate agent? Before you get to complain about the estate agent, you need to first understand what they are legally bound to do. This way, you will be able to determine if they have violated your rights before you can launch a complaint.
According to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, estate agents must:
- Ensure that they provide accurate information either in writing, pictures or verbally. Consequently, making false claims of belonging to a professional body or even offering a misleading description of property amounts to a breach.
- They also must include all vital information that a potential buyer requires to make an informed decision when making an offer or instructing conveyancers and surveyors.
- They also must desist from putting undue pressure on either the buyer or seller to make a quick move such as putting in an offer, exchanging contracts or even skipping the survey.
- Ensure that they have a procedure of addressing complaints in place internally, at agency level.
On the other hand, the Estate Agents Act 1979 requires the following from estate agents:
- Provide details of all the fees charges to you in wiring before agreeing to act on your behalf.
- Explain in writing terms used in the contract such as sole selling rights, sole agency as well as ready willing and able purchaser.
- Must not show bias against or towards potential buyers and must pass all offers buyers make to the seller.
Complaining about Your Estate Agent
Now that you know the obligations of estate agents, how then do you complain against an agent that has acted illegally?
Although the first thought would be taking legal action against the estate agent, this may have a huge cost implication. Besides, court judges will only look at your favourably if you have exhausted all the possible dispute resolution avenues in sorting the issue leaving you with the court as the last resort.
Therefore, it is advisable the you first seek redress through the estate agency’s internal dispute resolution mechanism before involving a third party, usually The Ombudsman. It is only when the agency fails to address your concerns that you may involve the Property Ombudsman.