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Press releases 2002 -

Estate agent banned

PN 09/02        14 February 2002

Kettering estate agent Lee Dale Patterson has been banned from estate agency work.

Mr Patterson, who has in the past traded as Knights Estate Agents of Kettering, Northants received a Prohibition Order from the Office of Fair Trading.

Northamptonshire Trading Standards Department notified the Office of Fair Trading that Mr Patterson had been convicted at Northampton Crown Court in November 1999 of an offence of conspiracy to defraud. He was sentenced to 150 hours of Community Service and ordered to pay £1,500 towards the cost of the prosecution.

After considering representations, an adjudicator appointed by the Director General of Fair Trading determined that Mr Patterson was unfit to carry on estate agency work. A Prohibition Order was made in respect of Mr Patterson on 5 February 2002. Mr Patterson has the right to appeal the decision to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry with 28 days of the Order being made.

John Vickers, Director General of Fair Trading, said:

'This ban shows that the OFT will use its powers where there is evidence demonstrating that someone is unfit to be an estate agent. The housing market must be safe from unfit estate agents.'


1. The Estate Agents Act 1979 covers anyone who, in the course of business, is engaged in 'estate agency work'. This means introducing to someone else a person who wishes to buy, sell or lease land or property, and being involved in negotiating the subsequent deal. The work must be in the course of business, whether as employer or employee, and as a result of instructions from a client. The land or property may be commercial, industrial, agricultural or residential. This does not include acting as a letting agent.

2. The Director General can bar from estate agency work a person who has been convicted of certain specified offences such as fraud, or other dishonesty or violence; or who has committed racial or sexual discrimination in the course of estate agency work; or who has failed to comply with the requirements placed on estate agents by the Act.

3. Before a Prohibition Order is issued, the person concerned has the right to make representations to the Director General as to why the Order should not be made. If these representations are unsuccessful, subsequent appeal can be made to the Secretary of State for Trade.

4. After an Order has been made, the person affected can at any time, and on payment of a fee, currently £2,500, apply to the Director General for the Order to be varied or revoked. In Mr Patterson's case the Prohibition Order may cease to have effect when the rehabilitation period for the conviction ends in November 2004.

5. A public register of Prohibition Orders is kept by the Office of Fair Trading at CCLB 3rd Floor, Craven House, 40 Uxbridge Road, Ealing, London, W5 2BS.

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