Will Landlords Be Prosecuted under Consumer Protection?

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Will Landlords Be Prosecuted under Consumer Protection?

Postby Nick » Fri Mar 29, 2013 9:40 am

Will Landlords Be Prosecuted under Consumer Protection?

Until now, selling and letting homes in the UK has been largely unregulated, with only two major pieces of legislation applied to the industry. These were the 1979 Estate Agency Act, setting out how agents should behave, and the influential 1993 Property Misdescriptions Act (PMA) specifying standards for accurate marketing of homes in brochures, websites, or in discussions with prospective buyers.

But now the Government – lauded by the property industry back in 2010 for scrapping earlier consumer legislation, Labour's Home Information Packs – is repealing the PMA. Instead, it is insisting estate and lettings agents abide by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) of 2008

So far, so legalistic. But to the surprise of many, the CPRs are turning out to be more powerful than the PMA and several agents have already found themselves in hot water.

The change in legislation revolves around CPRs obliging agents to disclose information considered "fair" to consumers – that is, buyers and renters. It means agents can no longer act solely in the interests of the sellers or landlords.

It also puts an end to the adage "caveat emptor" or "buyer beware", which placed all the emphasis on the purchaser to "discover" any problems about a property or location.

While the PMA insisted on the accuracy of what was stated, and largely turned a blind eye to anything left unsaid, the new CPRs expose agents to prosecution if they do not admit knowing something which may influence the decision of a prospective buyer or renter.

Does this also apply to Landlords renting directly? I don't see why not?
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