Sellers and Landlords: Using an Unregistered Estate Agent
With media reports suggesting that up to 50,000 agents may be operating without the required Fidelity Fund Certificate, and whilst many former agents have probably just closed up shop, there is a chance that the agent who sold or rented out your house for you is (whether inadvertently or by design) unregistered.
We look at how this affects you, with a note to agents on the importance of renewing your Fidelity Fund Certificates and using your EAAB PrivySeals.
With media reports suggesting that up to 50,000 agents may be operating without the required Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC). The real figure is likely to be a lot less in that many former agents have probably just closed up shop in the last 10 years, but even so there is a chance that the agent who sold or rented out your house for you is (whether inadvertently or by design) unregistered.
Using an unregistered agent …
1. Only registered estate agents (and those practicing attorneys not required to register as agents) have the legal right to claim remuneration/commission. So an unregistered agent won’t be able to enforce any commission claim against you.
2. Of course you would then stand to save a great deal of money in commission. The question is, should you take the risk of not checking upfront? It boils down to this – can you afford to trust your most important asset to someone who may not be registered with a professional body and backed by a Fidelity Fund?
For most of us the best advice is to rather err on the side of caution. Check for registration, and in any doubt ask your lawyer for help before agreeing to anything.
End notes for agents
Remember that failing to renew your FFC, apart from disentitling you to any form of commission, exposes you also to criminal prosecution if you continue to practice.
You can help the public distinguish you from the scamsters and the bozos by using your EAAB PrivySeal and make sure it is installed correctly on your emails etc – read “Ensure your PrivySeal reflects the current date and time” on the Estate Agency Affairs Board website.