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Crackdown demand on quick house sale firms


Quick house sale companies must be regulated to protect homeowners from accepting a knock-down price for their property unnecessarily, experts at law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp said yesterday.

Stephen Hill, a professional negligence lawyer, said: "These companies exploit ambiguity about their role and sellers are often allowed to believe that the valuations provided are independent when in fact they are done with the company's profit in mind. The seller has no comeback against the valuers instructed by these companies."

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has this week launched a study of quick house sale companies in a bid to uncover rogue practices.

The OFT is concerned about the risks to people in financial difficulty – including those who have worked up large amounts of debt or are facing repossession. Consumers at risk may also include those who need to sell their property quickly following a relationship breakdown or the elderly, who might need money to pay for their care.

"Most areas of the property industry are tightly regulated. Growing demand for quick house sale providers has made room for rogue operators and regulation is urgently needed to protect homeowners," said Mr Hill.

Anyone who wishes to tell the OFT about their experience with quick house sale firms can email quickhousesales@oft.gsi.gov.uk, or call 08457 22 44 99.