‘Price on application’ in property listings deemed unlawful

The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) has set out its position that the use of ‘POA’ or ‘price on application’ in property listings is unlawful.

The industry regulator has shared its opinion, developed with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), after it was asked by the industry to provide a view on the use of POA as part of the ongoing process to improve the disclosure of material information on property listings.

NTSELAT’s opinion is that the use of ‘POA’ or ‘price on application’ in relation to a listing on a property portal or an agent website is likely to be misleading as it withholds – or in some cases masks – the asking price from consumers.

A property’s price is information which the average consumer needs in order to make an informed transactional decision, such as to make enquiries about the property, conduct further research or arrange a viewing.

James Munro
James Munro

James Munro, senior manager of the NTS Estate and Letting Agency Team, commented: “I am pleased to be able to set out a clear position that the use of ‘POA’ or ‘price on application’ in property listings is unlawful. We have considered this issue carefully and I am grateful to colleagues, the CMA and legal experts for their input.

“We hope this clarity will be helpful for property portals and agents as they prepare their listings going forward. This position will now form part of our general industry advice and guidance.”

An overview of the broader programme of work by NTSELAT, in partnership with industry, to define what constitutes material information for property listings can be found on the NTS website by clicking here.

For general information about agents’ obligations under the Consumer Protection Regulations (CPRs), guidance for property sales and lettings is available here.

 

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7 Comments

  1. Charlie Lamdin

    14 years after the piece of legislation they are using was created, they “deem” the use of POA on property advertising unlawful? Scaremongering nonsense. It implies that agents who’ve sold a house that was listed as “POA” have committed a criminal offence. (Consumer Protection against Unfair Trading 2008). The NTS’s job, as I understand it, is the enforcement of existing regulations, in which their performance has left a lot to be desired (although maybe due to insufficient funding). But, this is outside their remit. The opinion of one Barrister doesn’t change the law, and there will be other barristers who would disagree. How the subject of “POA” has anything to do with the CMA is beyond me. While RM continues to extend and exploit its monopoly, which is something that does come under the CMA’s remit, they are looking the other way and making interpretations of old laws to try and scare agents into complying. There has never been a case, I would argue, of a consumer being harmed in any way because a property was advertised as “Price on Application”. What are they up to?

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  2. Woodentop

    I couldn’t agree more on this. POA is nothing more than hiding the asking price from the consumer … which by law must be disclosed.

     

    Some may say the vendor wishes to not make it common knowledge of their business to nosey people they would prefer don’t want them to see. That fails as all they have to do is call and ask!!!!!

     

    It is more often than not a ploy by the selling agent to get people to contact them, so they can apply pressure with a foot in the door to capture that potential buyer, regardless of them pursuing that particular property when they find out how outrageous or not the asking price is.

     

    I was in Scotland recently and an agents window was full of POA. A big turn off and you will not convince me that all the sellers thought this up …. a put up by the agent of how they want to operate.

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  3. Bryan Mansell

    POA always has a price, otherwise, how can you position it on portals. Full disclosure is the way forward. POA is an 80’s sales tactic nothing more and we are all fed up with being ‘sold to’. It also is not the way to generate trust from the first contact with customers.

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    1. AJL20

      I agree, although I can’t believe that it works by a significant enough margin to justify it’s use. I would imagine as many people don’t enquire as do.

      Added to which, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to find out the price of a POA listing on portals.

      I welcome the clarification, personally, and think transparency and disclosure is the only way forward.

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  4. OverratedAgent

    Maybe change POA to MVHAUPEAIILIATPNOWE

    (My vendor has an unrealistic price expectation and if I list it at that price no one will enquire)

    On reflection, that doesn’t really roll off the tongue

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  5. Richard Copus

    Great news!  When I was looking to move a few years ago there was nothing more frustrating than seeing POA and then having to spend time contacting the agent only to be told that the price was way above what I had expected it to be or, more annoyingly some vague answer about what the owner was sort of looking to achieve.  Sometimes we agents need to put our consumer hats on.

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  6. Certus

    Equally misleading or masking is the use of ‘guide price’. RM places it by the lowest figure which is most often very misleading, whilst the range is hidden in the text.
    Are RM misleading consumers?
    Can they clarify and clean up this.

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