What is Estate Agent responsibility legally when selling houses? Not everyone is aware of this aspect. When Real Estates or Estate Agents assist buyers or sellers they get a commission. For that reason they assume legal responsibilities. If they make mistakes, hide information or misrepresent clients, they could be liable to pay a compensation in relation to the damages suffered by the clients.
The Supreme Court has ruled on Estate Agent responsibility in a case that Molina Solicitors dealt with. The Supreme Court accepted that Estate agents have the obligation to defend their client’s interests. They also have the obligation to inform clients about any problems that could affect the outcome of a sale.
Some Real Estate agents think their obligations is only to show and sell a house. They do not realise that they assume a lot more legal responsibility than that. Their obligations can be summarised by informing, advising and guiding clients throughout the whole process of a purchase and a sale.
If Estate Agents hide important information or do not advise clients about any problems. And because of this negligence the client suffers damages, then the Real Estate agent can be condemned to pay compensation. For example, if a client is buying a new build property. The Estate Agent does not advise that a bank guarantee should be obtained from the builder. Then the builder goes bankrupt. In this case, the Real Estate could be condemned to compensate the clients because the money was lost due to them not informing properly.
Another example; if the Real Estate agent is selling a house without certificate of habitation or with an embargo. The buyer pays a deposit which has been based on wrong information. Then the Real Estate could be conmdened to compesate the buyer for the damages suffered.
If the buyer or seller is assisted by a solicitor, most of the Estate’s obligation will be assumed by the solicitor. Even so, they still have the obligation to inform the clients properly.
Buyers need to be aware that if they have lost money or suffered damages because an Estate Agent was negligent, they can claim compensation. We are experts in these types of claims.
Real Estate Agents (and not all are alike) must be aware that they have a legal obligation that goes far beyond showing and selling a house. They have to inform and look after clients. Because they are providing a professional service and clients are protected from any of their negligent actions under Consumer Law.
If you are a client who has had a problem with a Real Estate agent please contact us. Equally if you are an Estate Agent who does not want to make a mistake and needs some advice on a particular situation or generally.