Changes to Estate Agents and Property Agents Legislation

Closed 21 Apr 2017

Opened 10 Mar 2017


For most people, buying and selling property is the most significant transaction which they will undertake and the estate agent generally plays a major role in brokering that transaction.

The current legislation relating to estate agents is the Estate Agents Act 1975 which (inter alia) provided for the registration of estate agents with the former Local Government Board and from 1987 the Department of Local Government and the Environment (DoLGE). In an endeavour to bring the 1975 Act up to date and to close some obvious gaps, DoLGE promoted the Estate Agents Act 1999. Although the 1999 Act was passed, it was never brought into operation through an Appointed Day Order.

In the 2010 restructuring of Government, responsibility for estate agents passed to the OFT.

The Estate Agents Act 1975 has two fundamental purposes:

  • To regulate the operation of estate agents
  • To provide a framework of consumer protection around the transactions of sale and lease of residential property

Why your views matter

The proposed Estate Agents (Amendment) Bill would deal with the necessary changes to the Estate Agents Act 1975, to provide an effective and proportionate framework of regulation. The proposals in the Bill itself are designed to allow estate agents to continue to operate much as at present, whilst essentially modifying those areas where it is at best, unreasonably difficult, and at worst, virtually impossible, to be fully compliant with the law.

In parallel with the proposed Bill the OFT is proposing to use, for the first time, the new section 62A of the Consumer Protection Act 1991 (which was introduced by the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act 2016). This will enable us to apply to the Island, with necessary modifications, two United Kingdom Statutory Instruments which provide consumers with effective redress in relation to both the purchase and sale of property and property rental.

It should be noted that letting agents are treated as carrying on business as estate agents for the purposes of the 1975 Act due to the fact that the meaning of ‘sale of land’ includes the grant of a tenancy at a rent. This means that letting agents are required to comply with the provisions of the 1975 Act. 


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