My experience of advising estate agents tells me that, by and large, some confusion reigns as what laws and regulations apply to estate agents. Perhaps surprisingly, there are more than 10 separate pieces of legislation that govern what an estate agent can and cannot do and these are not limited to just consumer protection legislation, including but not limited to:-

Naming a business is a lot like laying the foundations of a building. Once it’s in place, the whole structure of the building is relies upon it. If the foundations are weak, even just a bit, the rest of the building is in trouble. As such, naming a business couldn’t be more important and I advise clients to not only think carefully when setting up a new agency, but also to do their homework beforehand. Ensure that you check the name with Companies House, internet search engines, domain name registries, trade journals etc. There is no central register and there is no requirement on you to register a name unless you are a limited company or limited liability partnership. You must also be careful to ensure that any name you give your business cannot be confused with another business – this is known as ‘passing off’, and can allow the aggrieved business to claim compensation where another business has used their name or it is so similar that it may confuse customers (and as a result gets business). The same can be said of Trade mark infringement and so it is always worthwhile carrying out a search of the Trade Marks Registry of the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Referred Conveyancing Opportunities Available

Estate Agents Legal Issues

Another legal issue which sometimes falls under the radar is governing who can and who cannot be an Estate Agent. Although no formal qualification is needed, an Agent can be stopped or removed if it is believed that they are:

  • A criminal convicted of offences relating to dishonesty, fraud or violence
  • Guilty of offences under the Estate Agents Act 1979
  • Found guilty of discrimination in the course of estate agency
  • Have been found to be engaged in undesirable practices as an Estate Agent
  • Are a bankrupt, unless you do not own any part of the business and are simply employed by the agency in question.

I regularly advise property professionals on a wide range of legal issues such as those relating to estate agency law, HR/employment disputes, data protection, debt recovery, consumer disputes, setting up business and IR35. I have also attended training provided by the National Federation of Property Professionals and the National Associations of Estate Agents and Residential Lettings Agents respectively.

Referred Conveyancing Opportunities Available

As a firm, Attwells can also offer property professionals advice on further areas such as referred conveyancing, new homes. commercial real estate, company law, block and estate management and possession proceedings.

If you are a property professional looking for legal advice or support on any of the above areas, please do not hesitate to contact Lloyd Clarke for further information.