>The Property Ombudsmen Cod...

All UK estate agents have to abide by sensible rules, at Cooper Adams we are proud to represent our clients to the best of our abilities.

The Ombudsman for Estate Agents Scheme is now called The Property Ombudsman.

Estate agents must meet all their legal obligations when conducting their business. These include:

Making financial checks. An estate agent must ask you, if you are the seller of a property, to provide proof of identity, as required by the Money Laundering Regulations 2007. The estate agent may also ask buyers for similar information to ensure that their records are complete and especially if they are providing the buyer with another service, for example, help in arranging a mortgage.

Duty of care. An estate agent must always work in the best interests of the client, that is to say the person who is paying for the estate agency services (usually the seller). An estate agent should also treat fairly, and with courtesy, all those involved in the proposed sale or purchase. If the estate agent or one of his staff, has any personal or business interest in the property, you, as buyer or seller, must be told as soon as possible in writing.

Impartial advice. An estate agent will offer appropriate advice, explanations and assistance to all regardless of age, race, religious belief, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or disability.

Terms of business. All estate agents must give you written Terms of Business with an explanation of terms used. The estate agent must also explain all fees and charges and tell you if any fee will be payable if you withdraw your instructions to sell the property.

Fees and charges. An estate agent must inform you in writing, before you agree to use his service, what fee (including VAT) is payable and when the fee is due. It must be stated clearly whether the fee is a fixed price regardless of the achieved selling price or whether it is calculated as a percentage based on that achieved selling price.

Marketing your property. The estate agent must describe the property as accurately as possible and not misrepresent the details.

Energy Performance Certificate. state agent must ensure that he holds an appropriate home information pack for the property he is marketing.

'For Sale' Boards. Boards must not be displayed in areas where this is not permitted. The estate agent must also ask if the seller wants a 'For Sale' board to be displayed and ensure that only one board of the correct size is displayed for each property.

Access. If the estate agent holds the keys, staff from the agency must accompany those who are viewing and anyone else requiring access on behalf of the buyer, unless the seller gives authorisation to the contrary.

Viewings. The estate agent must follow the seller's instructions on how viewings should be conducted.

Offers. The estate agent must record all offers received and pass a written copy of the offer promptly to the seller. The estate agent must not conceal or misrepresent offers made on the property to the seller and where relevant to prospective buyers.

Services to buyers. If the estate agent offers services to the buyer, he must inform the seller in writing of those services.

Please find OFT approved code for all residential estate agents: