The property Ombudsman provides a free, fair independent service for Buyers, Sellers, Tenants and Landlords in the UK and this week in a press release the TPO has responded to a proposed amendment to the Estate Agents Act and the repeal of the Property Misdescriptions Act, The TPO are extremely concerned as proposed changes to the laws governing estate agency in Britain could see some homebuyers with no more protection than if they were buying a car in a private deal. Christopher Hamer from the TPO says the Government is not prepared to make any attempt to change the Estate Agents Act to protect landlords and tenants, was now moving with unfamiliar speed to remove protection from homebuyers. Under law changes proposed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, intermediary websites that advertise properties for private sellers, and can offer ‘For Sale’ boards making them look like genuine estate agents, would be exempt from the provisions of the Estate Agents Act 1979. In effect, homebuyers would be entering into an entirely private arrangement with the seller, introduced by a website that would not be able to offer any type of help or advice with marketing or negotiations in order to remain within the constraints of the new rules. Just like a purchase of a second hand car on a private basis, there is the possibility that the buyer could be led to believe what they are buying is in a certain condition only to find out later that significant work is needed,’ said Mr Hamer. Simultaneously, the Government is also planning to repeal the Property Misdescriptions Act (PMA) that forces estate agents to ensure promotional material they use accurately describes property for sale. Instead, the Government intends they should be covered by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs), which Mr Hamer says are intended more to apply to general retail sales. The changes to the EAA mean that intermediary websites are outside it and will therefore not have to offer any form of redress through one of the two approved Ombudsman schemes that all residential sales agents have been compelled to join since the Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act came into force in October, 2008. This is sad news indeed for those licenced estate agents among us including myself and the professional bodies such as NFROPP (National Federation of Property Professionals) and of course the TPO who have been working hard to ensure the property market is regulated with a proper redress system in place when things go wrong.