Understanding an estate agents commission policy

Understanding an estate agents commission policy

Estate agents have been viewed in a decidedly bad light in recent times, particularly after the recent housing crash and are viewed by many with the same disdain as lawyers, politicians and journalists.

We have received numerous complaints from sellers regarding estate agents that have attempted to claim commission they were not due.

In order to clarify the murky world of estate agency fees, this article explains when you can reject an agent’s claim for commission and who you can talk to when you feel that you are being taken advantage of.

When is commission not payable?

You can reject a claim for commission by real estate agent if you have instructed the estate to withdraw your intentions to sell your home.

If the agent is a member is a member of The Property Ombudsman or National Association of Estate Agents, they waive their right to commission six months after your withdrawal.

Furthermore, if the real estate agent attempts to additional charges on top of the commission which you were not told about from the start, you have the right to reject their claim for commission according to the Estate Agents Act 1979.

When is commission payable?

While you can reject a real estate agent’s claim for commission if you have asked him or her to withdraw your intent to sell six months earlier, it is important to take note of an important ruling ( Dashwood v Fleurets Ltd [2007] EWHC 1610 QB ) where the high court ruled in favour of the estate agent who claimed that there was proof that the estate agent had contributed to the sale of the property. In practise, this may mean that the estate agent introduced the buyer to purchase and not simply the property itself.

Who to turn to if you need help:

If you feel as though you are being done in and are struggling with unfair claims by an estate agent there are two organizations that you can turn to in Britain. The Royal Institution for Chartered Surveyors and the National Association of Estate Agents operate internal complaints procedures who you can contact for help. The Ombudsman for Estate Agents also offers a complaints service for its member agencies. Furthermore, under the Consumer Act, all estate agents have to belong to an industry body.

Contact details for the relevant industry bodies are below:

The Ombudsman for Estate Agents Scheme: 01722 333306

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA): 01926 496800