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Can an Estate Agent Refuse a Viewing?

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Viewings are an essential part of any house-hunting experience. Even if an estate agent provides a lot of information about the property – such as a floor plan, pictures, and a walkthrough video – it is always best to visit it in person.

This will help you get a better sense of the property and may reveal any issues that may not be obvious from afar. These could include dampness, subsidence, asbestos, or problems with neighbours or the local area.

But what happens if an estate agent refuses your viewing request? In this article, the team at Property Saviour answers the question: “Can an estate agent refuse a viewing?” Read on to find out what your rights are in this situation.

Table of Contents

Understanding Estate Agents' Obligations

It is important to understand the legal obligations of estate agents before discussing the circumstances in which they can refuse a viewing.

The Estate Agents Act 1979 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 are two main pieces of legislation which guarantee that both buyers and sellers are treated with integrity, fairness and promptly. These laws help to ensure that all parties are treated honestly and ethically.

Estate agents must be accurate when describing properties to potential buyers. It is important that they do not withhold any important information from buyers, and that they relay all offers to the seller.

They must also be impartial, not favouring or opposing any buyers. Knowing these obligations can help buyers to better comprehend the property market and interact with estate agents.

Can a buyer find out my property has subsidence if I don’t tell them?

Estate agents should never turn down a request for a property viewing. However, as with any business, property professionals are allowed to refuse service, provided their actions don’t constitute discrimination.

Here are some reasons an estate agent might refuse a viewing:

  • The property is being taken off the market;
  • The customer is abusive;
  • The requested date and time are unsuitable for the agent or the seller;
  • The buyer has provided too little notice (sellers usually need 24 hours notice before a viewing);
  • The agent suspects the buyer isn’t serious about making an offer;
  • The seller has declined the viewing;
  • The estate agent assigned to the property is unavailable;
  • The agent or the property itself is facing some issues that must be resolved first.

If you think that the estate agent has refused to work with you due to your race, religion, sexuality, or any other form of discrimination, then you are entitled to report them to The Property Ombudsman (TPOS). The same is true if you feel you have been deceived by the estate agent.

Can an Estate Agent Refuse a Viewing
If you think that the estate agent has refused to work with you due to your race, religion, sexuality, or any other form of discrimination, then you are entitled to report them to The Property Ombudsman (TPOS).

Can an Estate Agent Ask for Proof of Funds Before a Viewing?

More and more, estate agents are requiring proof of funds from potential buyers before arranging a viewing.

This is legally permissible, though it may be frustrating. Generally, a mortgage in principle is enough to demonstrate that the buyer is serious about making an offer.

To reduce time-wasting for estate agents, sellers, and buyers, certain measures have been put in place. One example is remote viewings or pre-recorded videos, to ensure that only serious house hunters visit in person.

Furthermore, estate agent viewing requests can become backlogged. Therefore, it’s important to make requests quickly to secure a viewing.

As a part of this process, they may need to verify that the buyer is capable of making a purchase, which could involve asking for proof of funds.

If you don’t have enough resources, you’ll have wasted their time – which is more valuable than ever in this day and age. This approach can be discouraging and may necessitate a great deal of paperwork from the potential customer.

So.. Can An Estate Agent Refuse an Offer?

We have already established that estate agents can decline a viewing for valid reasons. But can they refuse to pass on an offer?

It is the seller’s prerogative to accept or decline any offer for their property. So, can an estate agent refuse to present an offer? Not really. Generally, up to the point that contracts are signed, they must present all offers to the seller.

However, the seller may instruct them to automatically reject offers that are lower than a certain price. If the amount you have put forward is too low, it won’t be sent to the seller.

To sum up, it is both legal and possible for an estate agent to decline a viewing. However, the reason they give must be fair and should not involve any form of discrimination. Furthermore, they can only reject an offer with the permission of the seller.

If you think that an estate agent is being discriminatory towards you, you should contact the Property Ombudsman or the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSEAT). They may be able to help you resolve your complaint.

The Estate Agents Act and Its Implications

The Estate Agents Act 1979 is a crucial piece of legislation that governs the activities of estate agents in the UK. It's main goal is to ensure that estate agents act in the best interests of their clients and that buyers and sellers are dealt with honestly, fairly and promptly.

This act has several implications for estate agents, such as: defining who can and cannot be an estate agent;

  • Regulating estate agency work,
  • Including handling clients’ money,
  • Declaring personal interests, and handling negotiations;
  • Setting out enforcement measures, like warning and prohibition orders.

Familiarising oneself with the Estate Agents Act can help potential buyers comprehend their rights and the obligations of estate agents when engaging in the property market.

Dealing with Difficult Estate Agents
If a potential buyer feels that an estate agent is not following the rules or is being unfair, they should bring it up with the agent first.

Dealing with Difficult Estate Agents

If a potential buyer feels that an estate agent is not following the rules or is being unfair, they should bring it up with the agent first.

If they can’t settle the matter, they can lodge a formal complaint with a relevant redress scheme such as The Property Ombudsman or the Property Redress Scheme.

Resolving The Refusal To View

Estate agents must treat all potential buyers fairly and without discrimination. The Estate Agents Act 1979 requires them to pass on all offers to the seller.

If a problem arises, buyers should try to resolve it with the agent. If that doesn’t work, they can take it to the relevant redress scheme.

Knowing what the law says about estate agents and their duties can help potential buyers feel more confident about their property search and make the whole process easier.

Connect to us!

If you’re looking to avoid the hassle of going through a high street estate agent when buying or selling your property, Property Saviour is the perfect solution.

We can provide you with an upfront cash offer in as little as a week, with no estate agent or legal fees to worry about.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to provide you with all the help, advice and support you need.

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