Estate Agency Act consultation closes on Friday

A consultation on proposals to update the Estate Agency Act closes on Friday. The Government is looking for ways to simplify and limit the scope of the 1979 act, which was created before the internet changed the game. If the proposals go through, it could open the door for many online-only services to significantly undercut traditional estate agents. 

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills is requesting interested parties to answer the following questions, submitting responses to marcelle.janssis@bis.gsi.gov.uk by this Friday 10th August:

  • Question 1. Is being within the scope of the existing Act i. a burden on existing businesses in the home buying and selling market or ii. a barrier to new business models?
  • Question 2. Does the way “estate agency work” is defined in S1 of the EAA cause uncertainty about the scope of the Act and thereby create a significant barrier to businesses wishing to set up new business models, such as online estate agencies or matching sites?
  • Question 3. Are there any significant barriers to entry to the home buying and selling market caused by other legislation?
  • Question 4. The proposal is that businesses, such as online sites, that act simply as “passive intermediaries” offering a limited, low-risk service to buyers and sellers, whether or not they charge a fee, should be outside the scope of the EAA. What do you think the benefits and disadvantages of amending the scope of the EAA in this way would be?
  • Question 5. If the EAA was amended as proposed what activities should result in a business ceasing to be a ”passive intermediary” and coming within the scope of the EAA?
  • Question 6. What do you estimate the likely effects of the proposed change to be on the operational costs and profitability of individual firms or the industry as a whole?
  • Question 7. Would the purpose of the proposed change be best served by amending the definition of “estate agency work” ie the activities within the scope of the EAA (S1.1) or by amending the set of activities which are exceptions to the EAA (S1.2, 1.3 and 1.4)?
  • Question 8. What, if any, beneficial or detrimental effects might the proposed change have on consumers?
  • Question 9. Could there be unintended consequences of the proposed change and if so, what?
  • Question 10. Would there be particular issues about implementing the proposal in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland?
  • Question 11. Are there any other points you wish to make about this proposed change?

There’s more information on the BIS website here, or contact marcelle.janssis@bis.gsi.gov.uk / 020 7215 8164.