News & Blog

Some estate agents may be breaking competition law according to authority

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and The Property Redress Scheme (PRS) are working together to raise awareness of competition law. The CMA has sent out an open letter to estate agents after it became known that agents in some areas of the country are making joint decisions over which property portal they join.

 

OnTheMarket, which is owned by agents, only allows agents listing properties on the platform to register with one other platform. The CMA says that some agents may have made a joint decision about which second platform to join rather than reaching such a decision independently.

 

This may be breaching competition law, according to the authority. The open letter highlights three points which it is most concerned about, namely:

 

  • Agents colluding to make a joint decision about which property portal to join

  • The authority continues to monitor the conduct of estate agents, checking compliance of the property industry with the law

  • Consequences of breaking competition law can be severe: agents can be fined up to 10% of their annual turnover, directors can be disqualified for up to 15 years and in very serious breaches, individuals could go to prison for up to 5 years or pay an unlimited fine.

 

Competition law enables effective competition, which benefits consumers and businesses by keeping a check on price and increasing quality, innovation and efficiency.

 

The PRS supports the CMA in its endeavours and would like to make its members aware of current competition law, which makes the above practices illegal.

 

For the CMA's open letter to estate agent, please go to the gov.uk website 

 

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Property Redress Scheme is approved by Government under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015