Estate agents given all clear to continue to double charge

Speaking to Mortgage Introducer, Chris Hamer, the property ombudsman, said he didn’t support a ban and that a solution to the current issues could be resolved internally.

A bid to have the practice banned was rejected earlier this year on 6 March, and yesterday’s failure marks yet another setback for the ban campaign, led by Labour’s shadow consumer minister Stella Creasy.

MPs voiced serious concerns over the practice but instead opted for an in-depth report by the property ombudsman.

Letting agents also came under heavy fire after MPs declared that secretive charges were leaving clients in “the loo”.

Although the motion was defeated, MP Jenny Willott assured the chamber that the property ombudsman would be investigating the practice “with urgency”.

Hamer said: “I don’t believe a ban is necessary - this is a legal, commercial practice and the current issues can be resolved by consulting with the relevant stakeholders.

“A ban would mean fundamental changes to the way many estate agents are doing business and a thorough report on the practice should be conducted if any notion of a ban is to be considered."

“Sale by informal tender does need to be wholly transparent and clear-cut however,” he added.

“I will be bringing estate agents together to decide on a resolution that will resolve the issues fuelling the current torrent of criticism aimed at the industry.

“While this is still in its early stages, I believe the seller should always be liable for the agents fee and I will be working to ensure that there is always the option for a traditional transaction to take place.”