Q. I have asked my estate agent to mention in the property details that my apartment is ‘5 minutes’ from the station but my agent has said he is unable to say this, is this true and if so why?

A. Yes, I’m afraid this is true. The property Misdescriptions Act 1991 prevents us saying anything that can be misconstrued in any way. The aim of the property misdescriptions act is to ensure that descriptions of property are accurate and not misleading. Your comment on distance from the station is a perfect example of this. . . . . . 5 minutes to whom? A perfectly health young male maybe, but a lady in heels, an elderly person with a walking stick? As you can see, that description could be misleading to potential purchasers. The act is enforced by trading standards officers, any breach of the act is a criminal offence, with hefty penalties on conviction which include a maximum fine of £5,000 in the magistrates court and a criminal conviction, an unlimited fine in the crown court again with a criminal conviction and a possible prohibition order as it is a trigger offence under the Estate Agents Act 1979. You may now understand why your agent chose not to be so precise, he would likely have said ‘close proximity ‘ to the station instead.