The Property Ombudsman in the United Kingdom has revealed plans to launch a new Code of Practice to cater to the growing number of Buying Agents acting for consumers buying property in the country.
The Ombudsman, an official who is appointed to investigate complaints against a company or organisation, aims to provide a free and impartial dispute resolution service for consumers.
He will be implementing The Buying Agent Code of Practice on January 1, 2014, and the new Code has been designed to create a uniform set of standards for buying agents based in the U.K. to protect the interests of consumers and to promote best practice in the industry.
Property Ombudsman Christopher Hamer said: "The Buying Agent Code of Practice is a milestone for the industry. More than 95 percent of residential sales agents have signed up to TPO's Sales Code of Practice and we recognised that buying agents are a growing market sector in their own right."
"Unlike sales agents, who are instructed by home owners during a property sale, buying agents act in the interest of buyers to search for and secure the best price on a property. However, both sales agents and buying agents are subject to the same property and consumer protection laws, which is something many consumers and agents are unaware of."
"Consumers on both sides of a property transaction deserve the same levels of protection outlined in The Estate Agents Act 1979, and should be able to use a redress service to resolve disputes if they feel they have been treated unfairly."
As the largest Property Ombudsman Scheme in the UK, more than 22,000 sales and letting agents have registered with the organisation.
Property commentator and professional buying agent Henry Pryor, one of several agents consulted to create the new Code of Practice, said: "There may be no record as yet of a formal complaint being made against a buying agent, but it's important that all those involved in the buying and selling, letting and renting process have access to a credible redress service."
"Members of the public who sensibly ask for help when buying what is often their most expensive single purchase can now see exactly what they can expect from their buying agent."
The new Buying Agent Code of Practice, will join TPO's existing Codes of Practice and Consumer guides which are free to download at www.tpos.co.uk.