What warning orders and prohibition orders are, how to appeal, how to apply to have an order varied or revoked.

If you engage in estate agency work, you'll need to comply with certain legislation

If you don't comply, you could be:

  • prosecuted and fined
  • prohibited from engaging in estate agency work 
  • issued with a penalty charge, if you fail to belong to a redress scheme

The legislation can be enforced by:

  • the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT)
  • your local weights and measures authority
  • the Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland)

Enforcement action that can be taken by NTSELAT under the Estate Agents Act 1979 (EAA 1979) includes issuing warning orders and prohibition orders. These orders concern whether a person is unfit to engage in estate agency work.

Warning orders

A warning order: 

  • is a formal statement indicating that your behaviour is unacceptable
  • allows you to continue engaging in estate agency work, under a strict set of conditions 
  • warns you that if they continue with unacceptable behaviour while engaging in estate agency work they may be considered unfit

A warning order can be made if, during the course of estate agency work, you:

If we issue a warning order, and you repeat the unacceptable behaviour while engaging in estate agency work, we're highly likely to: 

  • consider you unfit to engage in estate agency work 
  • issue a prohibition order against you

Prohibition orders

Prohibition orders can prohibit you from all, or some aspect of, estate agency work. 

NTSELAT can issue a prohibition order whether a warning order was previously made or not. 

A prohibition order can be made if you:

  • continue to engage in or repeat unacceptable behaviour following a warning order 
  • commit an offence of fraud or other dishonesty, or violence
  • commit discrimination in the course of estate agency work 
  • commit certain offences named under the Estate Agents (Specified Offences) (No 2) Order 1991, such as an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
  • commit certain offences under the EAA 1979, such as engaging in estate agency work whilst bankrupt 
  • breach certain provisions of the EAA 1979, such as: 
    • not being a member of a redress scheme
    • failing to provide information on charges
    • failing to declare your personal interest in a sale of a property
  • fail to comply with an undertaking you accept, or an enforcement order made against you, under the Enterprise Act 2002 in relation to estate agency work
  • fail to comply with requirements imposed on you under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to produce information or documents 
  • engage in a practice declared undesirable under the Estate Agents (Undesirable Practices) (No. 2) Order 1991, such as discriminating against buyers who don't want additional services

NTSELAT can limit the scope of a prohibition order to a particular part of the United Kingdom. 

Not complying with a prohibition order is a criminal offence. You could be prosecuted and fined.

Warning and prohibition order process

Before NTSELAT make an order against you, we issue a Notice of Proposal.

If you receive a Notice of Proposal, you should seek the services of an independent legal representative.

The Notice of Proposal includes:

  • our intention to issue an order against you
  • information about why we're issuing the order

We can ask anyone, including clients and potential buyers, to provide information, for example emails or paperwork, before we decide to issue an order or carry out other enforcement activities.

You have at least 21 days to explain why you believe the proposed order shouldn't be made. The Notice of Proposal will explain how you can do this.

An independent adjudicator determines whether, in their opinion, you're unfit to engage in estate agency work. When a determination is made, NTSELAT decide whether to make the order. 

Appeal a prohibition or warning order

If you receive a prohibition or warning order, you have the right, within 28 days of receipt, to appeal against the decision of the lead enforcement authority (NTSELAT) to the First Tier Tribunal. 

Your right of appeal and the procedures for appealing will be explained to you if an order is made. 

You can make your appeal on GOV.UK.

Apply to have an order varied or revoked

You can ask for your warning or prohibition order to be varied or revoked, if your circumstances have changed.

The cost of the application is £2,500. This is set by the  Estate Agents (Fees) Regulations 1982. The fee must be paid in full before we can consider your request for variation or revocation.

For more information on this and to request an application form, contact NTSELAT.