On 18 November 2011 the RICS published their latest guidance note; Commercial Real Estate Agency Standards.
Also known as the ‘Purple Book’ it is a guide to best practice in commercial agency applicable to UK commercial agents from marketing (within the envelope of the 1991 Misdescriptions Act) through to money laundering. But it also offers a useful source of reference for clients and other stakeholders.
It refers only to direct property ownership for both occupation and investment, not to
forms of indirect investment.
It is particularly important that those practising in this field should be reminded
of the duties and responsibilities they owe to the clients of their services, as
many key financial decisions may have potentially serious implications.
The aim of this guidance is to ensure that clients can be assured they will receive
a standard quality service from all commercial agents, and to help to improve
standards in the sector by raising public and professional awareness. A further
objective is to encourage agents to aspire to the highest operating standards
through the training and on-going development of their staff.
Both agents and clients should make themselves aware of the key aspects of the guidance that includes chapters on;
Ethics; Duty of care, conflicts of interest, the Bribery Act 2010
Securing instructions; Information to be provided under the Estate Agency Act 1979, when clients must pay.
Disposal / marketing of property; Explanation of auctions & tenders, the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991
Acting for Seller; Information the agent is bound to supply.
Letting a property; Glossary of terms & key terms
Acquisitions; Guidance for agents searching on behalf of clients.
Ending the Instruction; Helping to tie up loose ends
Safety & Security; Data Protection Act
Agency Management; Promoting good practice.
This further supports the advice from RPS Ltd that by appointing RICS chartered Surveyors to act on your behalf is the best way in ensuring that your position is protected by a body that sets guidelines and standards that protect and enhance the commercial property agency industry.