The law catches up with estate agents

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ESTATE agents will be committing a crime if they give a misleading description of a property after 4 April.

The Property Misdescriptions Act also makes omission an offence.

For instance, if the property particulars say that there is a lift in the block, then the implication is that it works. It would be a serious omission if the estate agent failed to disclose that the lift was not in working order, although the agent would not be expected to commission a specialist report on the mechanical state of the lift.

The City solicitors Turner Kenneth Brown said that agents will have to be careful what they say, as well as with written details. And sellers can expect to be asked for more detailed information, which could slow down the selling process and increase the cost.

The report also says: 'The phrase 'realistically priced' needs to be justifiable: if the property is sticking on the market, can the price be said to be realistic?'

Another word of advice to estate agents is that ' 'Idyllic setting' is not prudent where it is known there are proposals to extend a neighbouring pig-farm.'

The measurements of the accommodation itself have to be roughly accurate, but agents would not be vulnerable for minute errors.

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