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The OFT closed on 31 March 2014 and this website is no longer being updated. The OFT's work and responsibilities have passed to a number of different bodies. Read more.

Estate agents

Advice for businesses about estate agency work and how to comply with the Estate Agents Act.

The OFT has a duty to supervise the working and enforcement of the Estate Agents Act. If you are engaged in estate agency work you have to comply with the Act. The OFT can take action against those who do not comply - we can warn them about their behaviour or ban them from estate agency work.  

Find more information on the Estate Agents Act.

Some estate agents sign up to voluntary codes of practice to demonstrate to consumers that they provide good standards of customer service. The OFT operates a Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS).

You can find out more by visiting the CCAS website.

See our Guidance on property sales (pdf 657kb): compliance with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 and our flowcharts (pdf 56kb) on the CPRs and BPRs.

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Your charges

You must give clients clear written information about your fees. This should include how much they will be charged and when payments will be due. If you don't know the exact amount of fees, you must explain how they will be calculated. You should also give details of any additional charges, for example the cost of advertising in local newspapers.

If you don't know the exact amount of additional charges, you must give an estimate and explain how they will be calculated. You must also state certain terms you may use in your contracts such as 'sole agency' and 'sole selling rights' in the exact wording prescribed in law.

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Your duties

You must tell clients promptly and in writing:

  • of all offers made on their property (unless they inform you in writing that they are not interested in receiving offers of a certain type), and 
  • if you or someone connected with you, such as a relative or a business partner, is seeking to acquire an interest in their property (this would normally involve you or the connected person wishing to purchase your client's property).

If you have a personal interest in a property, you also have to declare this in advance to potential buyers.

You must not discriminate against a potential buyer who does not want to take up other services you provide (for example, the potential buyer may not wish to obtain a mortgage or some other form of financial product from you). Nor must you misrepresent the details or existence of any offer or the existence or status of any potential purchaser.

If you - or someone connected to you - is offering or intends to offer other services to potential purchasers such as arranging mortgages or life insurance, you must tell your clients in writing about these services.  

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Money Laundering Regulations 2007

The OFT supervises estate agents under the Money Laundering Regulations. We have published guidance to help you comply with your obligations under the regulations.

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Consumer advice sheets

Following CPRs/BPRs guidance produced last year for property sales businesses, the OFT has developed two short consumer advice sheets. We are encouraging estate agents to make the advice sheets available wherever possible to home sellers and homebuyers.

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