Letting Agents Warned To Take Disclosure Duties Seriously Or Risk Jail..

Date Published 08 October 2013

Letting agents should be aware that legal duties to disclose information – including sensitive and even unsavoury information – about properties will be stringently policed. This is because the old Property Misdescriptions Act, which applied only to sales agents, has been done away with, leaving a regime that applies equally to both letting and sales agents.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 may not be new, but agents` duties under them are now set to be much more rigorously monitored. This is criminal legislation, and breaches could result in unlimited fines and prison sentences.

If a murder has been committed in a rental flat or someone has committed suicide there, or if a convicted paedophile has lived there – these should all be disclosed before a property is even viewed, say some industry experts. All are agreed that routine disclosures, such as noisy neighbours or proximity to a pub, must be flagged up at the earliest opportunity.

Furthermore, the regulations make a landlord jointly responsible with the letting agent for accuracy of descriptions, and making sure nothing material is omitted. The story was covered yesterday