Estate agents could face prosecution over sharp practices

Posted: 14 Nov 2006 10:12:31 GMT


            Property News - Estate agents could face prosecution over sharp practices

Estate agents could face prosecution if they knowingly inflate the value of a property under new legislation that will be announced in the forthcoming Queen's speech

Estate agents could face prosecution if they knowingly inflate the value of a property under new legislation that will be announced in the forthcoming Queen's speech.

They could also face prosecution for less-than accurate mail-shots and aggressive or exploitative sales techniques, under legislation to clampdown on the seedier parts of the industry.

The Department of Trade and Industry is seeking mandatory membership of an ombudsman scheme so that there is a clearly-defined channel to investigate complaints.

Around one in five people say that they have experienced estate agents' sharp practices and investigations have revealed a range of morally dubious methods used to sell homes.

These include colluding with buyers to suddenly drop an offer price when the contracts are due, refusing to leave until contracts are signed and knowingly pressuring people to buy property they can't afford.

The measures are part of a package designed to curb exploitative sales practices across sectors, such as door-to-door systems preying on old and vulnerable people.

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