Whether you’re buying or selling property at auction, getting an understanding of the terms, conditions and regulations of this industry is always a wise idea.
In this article, the team at Property Solvers, house auctioneers and fast home buying service providers – explains who regulates property auctions and the rules that apply.
We’ll explore who to approach should there be issues of concern when bidding, buying or selling at UK property auctions.
Property Auction Regulation
All UK auction houses must be a member of NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) Propertymark.
National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) Propertymark
Covering the estate agency and property auction sectors at large, the NAEA was established in the early 1960s with the goal of upholding good practice and high professional standards.
Propertymark launched in early 2017 and represents the interests of the following governing bodies:
- Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
- National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
- National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers (NAVA)
- Institution of Commercial and Business Agents (ICBA)
- Association of Professional Inventory Providers (APIP)
- National Federation of Property Professionals (NFoPP).
As part of their compliance procedures, auctioneers must forward annual client accounts to and be held fully accountable to government-led regulations. They must also conduct all auction processes – from registration through to fair bidding / acceptance and sales progression – correctly.
Here at Property Solvers Auctions, to offer our clients extra peace of mind/ security, we’re also members of the following trade bodies and organisations:
The Property Ombudsman (TPOS)
A government-approved trade body that protects property sellers (on the open market or those transacting with home buying companies). TPOS members must adhere to a strict Code of Practice. Their representatives will fairly listen to any and all concerns.
Trading Standards (Approved Code)
Signing up to Trading Standards as an auctioneer means adhering to the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCCS). This lays out key principles of effective customer service, protection and trust.
The Consumer Helpline number is 03454 04 05 06 (call charges apply and lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm).
Anti-Money Laundering Regulations
Adhering to these regulations means that anti-money laundering regulations protect auction deposit funds or other client-held monies. This means funds are protected in complex situations that can occasionally happen at auctions, such as buyers withdrawing their bids.
You can report any suspicious activity during the sales transaction to HM Revenue & Customs on freephone 0800 595 000 (lines are open 24/7).
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
Membership of the ICO means that auction companies must keep all buyer and seller’s personal contact details secure under the Data Protection Act (1998). The auctioneer can only pass on any details to a third party with full consent.
The ICO helpline number is 0303 123 1113 (lines are open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm).
Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Auction Regulation
Many auction houses adhere to regulations laid out by RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).
The body publishes professional guidance known as Common Auction Conditions (CACs), accessible via rics.org. This document lays out the RICS professional standards and guidance for all relevant auction houses and their clients.
Property Auction Law / Regulations
It’s also worth noting the “top-down” regulations that every auction house must adhere to. These regulations come under the following legislative acts:
- Auctions (Bidding Agreements) Acts 1969
- Consumer Rights Act 2015
- Sale of Goods Act 1979
- Trade Descriptions Act 1968
- Estate Agents Act 1979
Depending on the nature of any complaint, auction buyers and sellers can also approach the relevant Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) for assistance.
Your Legal Advice and Support
Whether you are planning to buy or sell at auction, always be sure to instruct an experienced and established conveyancing solicitor. A specialist of this kind will uphold your legal rights throughout the process.
It is definitely best to choose a solicitor who has a great track record within the field of property auctions. This is because they will have a stronger understanding of all relevant government legislation and the requirements of regulatory bodies than a legal professional without this experience.
Who to Contact with a Question or Complaint
As you have seen above, there are a number of ways in which auctioneers may be regulated. The exact details depends on the bodies with which they are registered.
If you are unsure of your rights as a buyer or seller at a property auction, your first port of call should be to discuss this matter with the relevant auction house.
If this conversation does not provide you with a suitable solution, it is a good idea to refer to the information above.
Find out which official regulatory bodies the auction house belongs to. You can then report your concerns, ask questions or make a formal complaint.
Property Solvers’ Auction Regulators
Property Solvers Auctions is regulated and approved by:
- NAEA (the National Association of Estate Agents) Propertymark
- The Property Ombudsman (TPOS)
- Trading Standards
- The National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB)
- The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
If you have any questions about our auction service and/or regulatory compliance, please don’t hesitate to contact our experts today.