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63/08 19 May 2008
The OFT has made a prohibition order against an estate agent in Scotland banning him from estate agency work, having found that he was unfit to carry out estate agency work.
Roderick Yule, an estate agent from Fife, has committed offences involving fraud or other dishonesty as referred to in section 3(1)(a)(i) of the Estate Agents Act 1979.
Mike Haley, OFT Head of Consumer Protection, said:
'When choosing an agent, consumers need to know that they are honest and trustworthy and this case shows that the OFT will take action to prevent those that it considers unfit from continuing to work in the industry.'
Mr Yule has until 19 May 2008 to appeal.
1. The OFT can take action with a view to banning from estate agency work a person (and for the purposes of the Estate Agents Act 1979 this can also be a company or a partnership) 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 Estate Agents Act 1979 and its associated regulations (the Act), or who has engaged in specified undesirable practices, if an adjudicator finds that the person in question is unfit to act as an agent.
2. Before a Prohibition Order is issued, the person concerned has the right to make representations to the OFT as to why the Order should not be made. If these representations are unsuccessful, an appeal against the determination to make an Order can be made to the Secretary of State.
3. Adjudicators issue and determine Prohibition and Warning Notices under the Act. They do so on behalf of the OFT, but make individual and independent decisions based upon the contentions in a Notice, the evidence attached to a Notice and the representations of those to whom a Notice is addressed. Representations may be made in writing and at an oral hearing.
4. An adjudicator determined that Mr Yule was unfit to practice as an estate agent. A Prohibition Order was made in respect of Mr Yule on 21 April 2008. The Order does not come into operation until the period in which any appeal could be made under section 7(1) of the Act has expired.
5. 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 OFT for the Order to be varied or revoked.
6. The Act 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/or 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.
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