Don’t be caught out by new cooling-off regime

With the cooling-off rules changing from tomorrow, there continues to be concern that many agents will be caught unawares by the full implications of the new regime.

David Beaumont, a compliance consultant and former Trading Standards Officer, said: “There has been some information sent out, but much of it simplifies the changes to an increase in the cooling-off period from seven to 14 days.

“However, there is a lot more to it than that.

“Of most importance is that agents cannot market a property for 14 days unless there is a specific clause in their contracts, with a signature box, whereby vendors give them signed permission to go ahead.”

Others are also warning about the full nature of tomorrow’s changes, which mean that clients must be given full information as to their rights to cancel.

If the consumer is not informed, then the cooling-off period is extended to 12 months and 14 days, meaning that they have the right to cancel at any time without penalty for over a year.

Agents should also be aware that cooling-off rights apply to contracts made online.

In another important change, a prescribed cancellation form must be provided to consumers. It will no longer be enough for an agent’s standard contract to provide for cancellation.

Property Ombudsman Christopher Hamer said that the changes under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations will also affect ancillary contracts.

He also emphasised that while agents will be able to market properties – with the explicit, signed permission of the owner – during the 14-day cooling-off period, the owner still has the right to cancel within that period.

In such circumstances the agent will be able to claim marketing costs, but Hamer said it is important that agents highlight this beforehand.

Hamer said: “All agents, whether providing sales or lettings services, will feel the impact of CCRs. However, they can ensure they are fully compliant by updating their service contracts and reviewing the way costs are disclosed to home owners and landlords.

“The major change is that under the new regulations, the cancellation period for all service contracts is extended from seven calendar days to 14 calendar days.

“Agents should also be aware that ancillary contracts are also affected by the CCRs, so if a landlord cancels a service agreement, their rent guarantee insurance, for example, must also be cancelled.

“Furthermore, any agent wishing to claim a fee to recover money spent marketing a property during the 14-day cancellation period must ensure these costs are outlined prominently in the service contract, or the consumer cannot be held liable.

“Agents must also pay any refund of monies due to a consumer within 14 days of a contract being cancelled to avoid breaching the CCRs.”

David d’Orton-Gibson, of Training for Professionals, said of the new Regulations: “They clearly apply to qualifying contracts created over the internet (as distance contracts) but also by post or telephone.

“Qualifying requires someone acting for purposes relating to that person’s trade, business, craft or profession, whether acting personally or through another person acting in the trader’s name or on the trader’s behalf.

“The other party must be a consumer. Regulations 6 also contains a list of contracts not covered, importantly in (d) for rental of accommodation for residential purposes. Therefore these new Regulations are really about Term of Business.

“There is a list in Schedule 2 of information that must be provided. If the information is provided the consumer will have a 14-day right to cancel. If the information is not provided then the consumer can cancel up to 14 days after the information is provided or 14 days after 12 months if the information has never been provided.

“Additionally, a prescribed cancellation form must be provided in all applicable cases. Under the previous Regulations, if your standard contract allowed cancellation you did not need to use the default one, but now you do.”

The Regulations are at:




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  1. Tracy

    We have our new contracts set up, but didn't know about the additional prescribed cancellation form that also needs to be provided – does anyone know where to download this?

  2. Gary Sinton

    One would like to think that our governing bodies might be able to supply a standard form of contract that we could all adjust – but seems not. Any suggestions where one can be downloaded would be welcome?

  3. Hound

    There is a form of words for the cancellation notice here on Eye:

  4. MF

    I have to say that now and in the past, Rosalind has done a better job of getting vital info out to us than our governing/trade bodies. Thank you Rosalind.


    If you go to and look at Schedule 3 of the actual act this relates to, they lay it all out for in an example so you can just copy it and amend it to suit your needs.

  6. VTUKSocial

    To help all agents around the country, we have produced a simple guide to the cooling-off period regulations, we hope it helps!


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