CPRs (Consumer Protection Regulations) – What are they?
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (known as the CPRs) control descriptions used by estate agents, letting agents and can cover some private landlords; many of whom are equally guilty of not understanding the extent of them, or worse, blatantly ignoring them. They create criminal offences for traders that breach them.
The Regulations prohibit ‘misleading actions’ and ‘misleading omissions’ that cause, or are likely to cause, the average consumer to take a transactional decision they would not have taken otherwise. ‘Material information’ is defined as “information which the average consumer needs, according to the context, to take an informed transactional decision”. A ‘transactional decision’ is not just whether a consumer decides to purchase/rent a property, but could include such things as whether to view a property in the first place.
The bottom line is that any material fact that affects the decision making process needs to be disclosed to prospective tenants before they view. The obvious ones are not telling someone that the property adjoins a busy road, a factory or lies under a flight path. Less obvious could be that there is an ongoing disagreement with the neighbours, another property overlooks the one to let out or a right of way across the grounds. It used to be that the tenant was expected to find these things out, but now it is the landlord/agent who has a duty of care to disclose any important facts that will influence a tenant’s decision to rent a property.
Failure to do this in a proper and fair manner may result in a prosecution from Trading Standards.