News item

New team starts estate agents work today

A team that will regulate the work carried out by estate agents across the UK started its new role on 1 April, Powys County Council has announced. 

The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT) takes over the enforcement role from the Office of Fair Trading, which was disbanded on Monday (31 March). 

Powys County Council’s and Anglesey Council’s Trading Standards Service submitted a joint proposal to deliver the NTSEAT, which was the successful bid out of six considered by the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB).  The council is now delivering this new team of behalf of the NTSB, who will provide the council with £178,000 a year as part of the three year contract. 

As part of their enforcement role, the team will assess whether or not an individual or business in any part of the UK is fit to carry out estate agency work within the terms of the Estate Agents Act 1979. 

Trading standards officers around the UK will conduct investigations into breaches of the Act and will take whatever action they deem appropriate, including possible prosecution of offences under the act. 

If they then believe that the course of action pursued by the estate agent is in violation of certain provisions of the Act, they will refer the case to the team for consideration of a banning or warning order.  Not only will the team be responsible for issuing individual banning or warning orders under the Act, it will also be responsible for: 

  • maintaining a public register of banning or waning orders 
  • approving and monitoring consumer redress schemes 
  • providing specific advice and guidance to businesses and consumers about their rights and obligations under the Act. 

Cllr John Powell, Cabinet Member responsible for trading standards, said: “This was a competitive process with six trading standards services bidding to deliver this important enforcement role.  Our bid, which was supported by the Welsh Heads of Trading Standards Group, was assessed against the other bids and proved to be successful. 

“We recognise our success in running this project from Powys and it will enhance the reputation of the council. We want to develop this project further with Powys becoming a centre of excellence for the UK on estate agency enforcement matters.” 

Cllr Wynne Jones, Chairman of the council’s People Scrutiny Committee, said: “To bring such an important regulatory function to the council is welcomed and I would like to congratulate our trading standards service on this success. 

“The team will be financed through external funding from the National Trading Standards Board.  This project, which has created three new posts and therefore generates income for the region, is welcomed given the financial pressures the council is facing.” 

If you need advice about a problem you’ve had with an estate agent you should contact Citizen’s Advice www.adviceguide.org.uk or call 08454 040 506. 

If you believe that the agent is not complying with their obligations under the Estate Agents Act, you can contact the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team on estate.agency@powys.gov.uk 

ENDS

For further information please contact: 

Am fanylion pellach cysylltwch â: 

Lee Evans, 

Swyddog Cyfathrebu a'r Cyfryngau 

Media and Communications Officer 

Ffôn/Tel: 01597 826023 

Ffôn Symudol/Mobile: 07769 640058 

Ebost/Email: lee.evans@powys.gov.uk 

DATE: 2 April 2014