Property Misdescription Act
The decision by the government to repeal the Property Misdescriptions Act of 1991 will provide property buyers some extra security when making a purchase.
The original act was quite straightforward. When estate agents advertised a property for sale, they couldn’t make any incorrect or misleading statements that could give a buyer the wrong impression. This could be anything ranging from structural issues that are not mentioned, right down to incorrect statements about the area.
The official government website says the following:
“Where a false or misleading statement about a prescribed matter is made in the course of an estate agency business or a property development business, otherwise than in providing conveyancing services, the person by whom the business is carried on shall be guilty of an offence under this section.”
A reasonable law, after all, anyone buying a property would expect nothing less than the truth and a reputable estate agent should have no issues with being clear and transparent when selling a property.
Consumer protection laws
From the 1st October 2013 the law has been repealed, so that it now offers even greater protection to the buyer. As well as not misleading buyers with factually incorrect information, estate agents now have to take care to ensure that they don’t omit information that is clearly important, or that would affect the value or sale of the property.
A great piece of legislation. What it means in real terms is that when buying a property, you can feel safe in the knowledge that your agent is giving you a complete picture of all of the relevant information that you need. That way, you won’t have to concern yourself with the thought that you haven’t been completely informed.
As well as protecting the buyer, this also means that it will be the agents’ responsibility to do their homework surrounding the property and to make sure they are in complete possession of any important facts, so that they can in turn, impart this information to you.
The burden on the agent
As has been pointed out by lawcareers.net it isn’t all good news. This new change to the law will place even greater burdens on estate agents, while they are constantly aware that even an honest mistake could be perceived to be misleading on their part.
The reality is, only time will tell exactly how well the new repeal will work in favour of property buyers and whether there will be issues for agents who are doing their best to conform to the law. With any new law, the new rules will mean a learning curve for all involved. However when you weigh up the pros and cons, this piece of legislation does make sense and for most respectable agents it will likely mean to simply carry on as you were.