Primary Authority Advice

Primary authorityPropertymark has partnered with Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service to operate as the Primary Authority for eligible members.

Our members will benefit from tailored advice on a range of legislation enforced by Trading Standards. The advice provided by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service comes with an assurance that it will be respected by all local regulators helping prevent inconsistent reading of regulations.

We're pleased to announce that we can now automatically start the registration process for all eligible principal, partner or director member firms, unless you already belong to a Primary Authority Scheme or we have been advised in writing that you do not wish to belong to the partnership.

The registration process will trigger an email sent to the main Principal, Partner or Director of the company, unless you tell us differently, from noreply@primaryauthorityregister.info. This email address should be added to your safe sender list to avoid any possibility of it being marked as spam.

The email will contain general information about the partnership as well as supporting documentation and certification. After receiving the email your company will be able to rely on the guidance provided through the partnership.

Terms and conditions

Primary Authority Advice

The following Primary Authority advice is available to all members to view and follow. However only organisations that have been admitted into the partnership between Propertymark and Warwickshire Trading Standards will be able to rely upon that advice should Trading Standards Officers from a different local authority have a different interpretation of the legislation.

General

Assured Advice: 4 - Effective from 8 June 2015 (reviewed 12 June 2017)

  • What are the requirements for displaying a business name in an estate agency for:
    • Sole Traders,
    • Partnerships (Inc. LLPs),
    • Limited Companies?
  • Does the display of the business name have to be visible from outside the premises?
  • What are the requirements for business name on:
    • headed paper,
    • websites,
    • property particulars?
  • Are there display requirements for communication media, e.g. email, or mobile text messages?

Assured Advice: 17 - Effective from 23 November 2015 (reviewed 8 November 2016)

  • Is it misleading for a letting agent not to display tenant and landlord fees in their offices?

Assured Advice: 21 - Effective from 18 August 2016

  • Is it misleading for a letting agent not to display penalty fees in their adverts?

Assured Advice: 8 - Effective from 11 November 2015 (reviewed 8 November 2017)

  • Two agents (A & B) are instructed on a joint agency agreement to sell a property. The 'For Sale' board outside the property has Agents A's details on one side and Agents B's details on the other. Both agents market the property on their websites, in local newspapers and in the window of their premises. 
    Agent A secures an offer on the property that is accepted by the vendor (however the vendor wants both agents to continue to market the property).
    • A' places a 'SOLD subject to contract' sign on his side of the 'For Sale' board. What should Agent B do to comply with the CPRs, in regard to the 'For Sale' Board?
    • What other action should Agent B take regarding the marketing material in newspaper / his website and in the window at his premises?

Assured Advice: 23 - Effective from 31 January 2017 

  • Two agents (A & B) are instructed on a joint agency agreement to sell a property. 
    Agent A secures an offer on the property that is accepted by the vendor (however the vendor wants both agents to continue to market the property).
    • A updates the property page on an internet portal with ‘sold subject to contract’. What should Agent B do to comply with the CPRs, in regard to their own property page on the internet portal?

Assured Advice: 12 - Effective from 20 April 2016 (reviewed 24 April 2017)

  • Is it unfair or undesirable practice to withhold from vendor an offer that has been received from a prospective purchaser, if the purchaser does not use the services of an internal financial advisor?

Assured Advice: 24 - Effective from 14 March 2017

  • Is it misleading to advertise the cost of rent as an amount payable ‘per person per week’ for a shared property?

Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (CICAR)

Assured Advice: 3 - Effective from 18 September 2015 (Reviewed 26 September 2016)

  • Are letting agreements entered into between landlords and agents for the letting of a property covered by the 2013 Regulations?
  • Are tenancy agreements covered by the 2013 Regulations?
  • Is an individual agreeing to act as a guarantor for a tenant covered by the 2013 Regulations?
  • Is the Marketing of properties for sale covered by the 2013 Regulations
  • What is the format for the notice to cancel?
  • When should the notice to cancel be given to the consumer?
  • What happens if an agent leaves the service contract (unsigned) at the consumer's home, then the consumer either signs and posts back or drops back into the office?
  • If the agents visited a property to provide a valuation but left a phone number rather than any paperwork, how would the regulations apply?

Assured Advice: 9 - Effective from 15 December 2015

  • Do the new cancellation regulations still apply when a chattels auctioneer collects items from the home of the owner, to sell in a chattels auction at another location?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

Assured Advice: 25 - Effective from 12 October 2017

  • If an EPC expires during an existing tenancy, would it be a misleading omission not to renew the EPC until the tenancy is due for renewal?
  • Is it a misleading action to renew a tenancy if the existing EPC for the property has expired?

Assured Advice: 5 - Effective from 8 November 2016

  • When should the EPC rating of a property for rent or sale be shown on property particulars?

Assured Advice: 10 - Effective from 20 April 2016

  • When a tenant begins a new tenancy, how does EPC need to be supplied to them?
  • When does an EPC need to be presented to an enforcement officer?

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs)

 

Assured Advice: 26 - Effective from 12 October 2017

 

  • Can property particulars and portal websites advertise properties at asking prices lower than those agreed with vendors?
  • If a property’s price is variable dependent on the length of lease, can this be advertised at the lowest possible amount?
  • If a property is available as part of ‘Help to buy’, at what price can it be advertised?

Assured Advice: 7 - Effective from 26 September 2016

  • An agent is marketing a flat for sale or rent, and the picture in the marketing shows parking spaces nearby. Does the agent have to make clear that there are no specific spaces allocated to the flat and it is a first come, first served arrangement with parking?
  • There is a restrictive covenant on a property for sale, does the agent have to disclose this to potential purchasers?
  • Should an agent disclose any planning applications that affect the property or its views to potential purchasers?
  • A property for sale has Japanese Knotweed on its land, should I inform the potential purchaser?
  • The previous tenant in a property was electrocuted and died, do I need to disclose this to potential new tenants?
  • The previous occupant of a property was murdered or committed suicide; do I need to disclose this to potential purchasers / tenants?
  • The vendor of a property is a convicted paedophile. Do I have to tell potential purchasers?

Assured Advice: 15 - Effective from 25 October 2016

  • If a property has been subject to subsidence in the past but this has been rectified and appropriate guarantees have been given, does the agent need to disclose that fact?
  • If the agent appraises a property where the sellers car is parked on a paved area in front of the garden, but the kerb is not "dropped", it is appropriate for the agents to describe it as "off road parking"? Or describe it a "off road parking but kerb not dropped?" Or are neither appropriate?
  • An agent is selling a property with a large area of land next to it, which is being sold separately as a potential building plot. The plot is described as a potential for development, subject to planning permission, but no permission is currently granted and there is no guarantee that it would be. Do they have to disclose this on the sale particulars if planning permission has not been granted?
  • House being sold with a garden twice as long as every other house in the road, It turns out that the "extended" piece of garden is leased from the railway company that operates the train line at the back of the houses. The land is on a "permanent" lease at a peppercorn rent and has been for 25 years - does the agent need to disclose that on the sale particulars?
  • An agent describes a property in accordance with the seller's information - having no reason to doubt that what he is being told. When a prospective buyer views the property, he notes that the rear access is through a pub car park and he asks the seller about it. Seller says he has a right of way, buyer makes offer and incurs expenses - conveyance find out that there is no right of way and the buyer wants to pull out and recover expenses. Who is liable: agent or seller?
  • Agent is asked to market a property and discovers that the local council have published a plan of where every bomb hit in the area during the Second World War. Where it shows the building was the site of a bomb drop and either people were killed in the air raid. Should the Agent disclose this?
  • An Agent advertises a plot of land as potential for development, subject to planning permission, but no permission has been granted and cannot be guaranteed to be granted. Is it still correct for the agent to say ' potential for development?' and if so what caveats should they give, if any?

Assured Advice: 16 - Effective from 5 November 2015 (reviewed 8 November 2017)

  • Does an agent have to notify a consumer of any pre-emption agreements that will be applied on the sale of the property?
  • Should an agent disclose whether a property has internet connectivity (broadband or dial up) to potential purchasers?

Assured Advice: 22 - Effective from 28 November 2016

  • Should Agents inform a prospective tenant that there has been a burglary, or multiple burglaries in the property they are applying to let?

Assured Advice: 2 - Effective from 10 March 2016

  • Is it possible to offer any guidance on the time limits for how long a property may be described as 'new' or 'new instructions'?
  • Is there any guidance as to what 'new instructions' mean, and would it include 'revised instruction'?

Assured Advice: 18 - Effective from 1 March 2016 (Revised 14 March 2017)

  • When an agent is marketing a leasehold property, what material information should be disclosed to consumers?

Assured Advice: 19 - Effective from 9 May 2016

  • What requirements exist for property photographs used to market properties?

Assured Advice: 11 - Effective from 20 April 2016 (reviewed 24 April 2017)

  • What are the minimum requirements for describing a room as a bedroom? 

Assured Advice: 1 - Effective from 10 March 2016

  • When is it permissible for an estate agent marketing a property to describe an attic space as an additional bedroom?

Assured Advice: 6 - Effective from 18 September 2015 (Reviewed 26 September 2016)

  • Should an agent disclose that there is a legal limit on the occupancy of a building that is being marketed for rent?

Assured Advice: 14 - Effective from 26 May 2016

  • When is it appropriate for an agent to use the term 'South Facing'?

Assured Advice: 20 - Effective from 18 August 2016

  • What are agent's obligations under the CPRs once their contract to market a property has ended?

Assured Advice: 13 - Effective from 20 April 2016

  • Is it a criminal offence to circulate inaccurate marketing material about a competitor?