Government will also repeal the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991 (PMA) which currently requires these businesses to check the accuracy of advertised property details. The PMA has largely been superseded by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations and the Business Protection from Misleading Advertising Regulations, which can be applied more flexibly and have a wider range of enforcement measures and protections.
The measures will ensure that these businesses do not face disproportionate costs as a result of regulations intended for traditional estate agents.
Consumer Affairs Minister, Jo Swinson said: "A flourishing housing market is hugely important to the economy, and one of the ways to boost it is to cut through bureaucracy and allow people to buy and sell more easily. This is why we are proposing to change the rules so that businesses that facilitate private property sales aren’t caught out by the regulations for estate agents.
"These intermediaries help buyers and sellers contact each other at a low cost, but don’t engage in other estate agent activities, so it’s unfair to expect them to go out and check all the property details of all the sellers on their websites. Reducing the regulations for these businesses will open up the market and increase choices for consumers looking to save costs when buying or selling a property.
"Selling privately can be a useful and cost efficient method, but consumers should always make sure they are well informed about the different levels of protection offered by these businesses compared to traditional estate agents."
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