Home Information Pack legislation means that, for the first time,
Government will be able to require estate agents marketing homes for sale with
Home Information Packs to belong to an approved redress scheme. This will
guarantee home buyers and sellers access to redress and help to deal with rogue
Why do we need an estate agents' redress scheme?
Recent research has shown that there is a high level of consumer
dissatisfaction with estate agents and that customers find it difficult to
complain and obtain redress when problems occur.
At present only 46 per cent of estate agents are members of the
voluntary Ombudsman for Estate Agents Scheme, so many consumers
are unable to obtain redress without going to the courts.
Compulsory membership of redress schemes will improve standards of service
and provide a cost-effective means of redress for consumers.
The Housing Act 2004 allows the Government to require all estate agents
marketing homes with Home Information Packs to belong to an approved redress
scheme. This will take place as from 1 June 2007.
What sort of complaints will the redress scheme deal with?
The redress scheme will be able to deal with a range of complaints about
estate agents relating to their acts or omissions in relation to a Home
Information Pack (including the giving of advice as to whether such a Pack is
required); and award compensation where complaints are upheld.
Will estate agents be banned if they refuse to join a redress scheme?
Yes. Refusal to join a redress scheme will be treated as if it were an
undesirable practice under the Estate Agents Act 1979. Continued refusal to join
a scheme will lead to a banning order under the Act.
Why does the redress scheme not cover general complaints about estate
agents not connected to Home Information Packs?
Part 5 of the 2004 Act deals with marketing homes with Home Information
Packs rather than estate agent activities in general. It was not possible to
amend the Bill at the time to include the full range of general complaints about
Will you extend the redress scheme to cover general complaints about
Yes. The Department for Trade and Industry, which has lead departmental
responsibility for estate agent activities, is seeking to legislate as soon as
possible to extend the coverage of redress schemes to include other kinds of
consumer complaints about estate agents.