Estate agency work definition and exceptions, intermediaries, property raffles.

The Estate Agents Act 1979 (EAA 1979) regulates estate agency work, to make sure that: 

  • estate agents act in the best interests of their clients
  • both buyers and sellers are treated honestly, fairly and promptly 

Section 1(1) of the EAA 1979 defines estate agency work. You're legally an estate agent if you: 

  • have a business that deals with people who buy or sell freehold or leasehold properties in the UK, including commercial and agricultural properties
  • send out property details and arrange viewings
  • offer advice to potential sellers or buyers
  • get enquiries from potential sellers or buyers, which you pass on to clients
  • give clients a For Sale board, or put one up outside their property, with your contact details
  • have a business that introduces buyers or investors to a “property deal”, also known as property sourcing

You're still legally an estate agent even if: 

  • you don't have physical premises
  • you run your estate agency entirely online

Exceptions to estate agency work

Exceptions to the definition of estate agency work include:

  • surveys or valuations carried out independently of other estate agency work
  • work connected with planning applications or covered by the Town and Country planning legislation
  • arranging rentals or property management for a client
  • estate agency work carried out outside of, and with no connection to, the UK
  • work done to arrange mortgages
  • publishing advertisements or putting information in a newspaper or similar publication, so that the seller and buyer can communicate directly with each other

What an intermediary is

You're an intermediary if you:

  • only pass on the seller's information to a prospective buyer 
  • only provide a way for the seller and buyer to contact one another directly, for example online
  • don't offer any advice to a seller or a buyer, such as preparing property details or photographs or an energy performance certificate
  • provide a branded For Sale board to the seller without your contact details 

Intermediaries are exempt from some requirements under the EAA 1979 that are relevant to full service estate agency businesses, for example:

Property raffles and estate agency work

A raffle is a competition where people buy tickets that are pooled together. A ticket is drawn at random and the ticket holder wins the prize. 

The prize in property raffles is, usually, a house. 

The promoter of a property raffle is engaging in estate agency work, if they're acting as an agent.  

A promoter is not acting as an agent if:

  • they're the promoter, and 
  • they have not set up a company to promote the raffle, and
  • they own the property being raffled, which means their name is on the register of title for the property

An agent relationship exists between the owner of the property and the promoter, if: 

  • a company is set up to promote the raffle, and
  • the property is not in the company's name

In this case, the promoter is engaging in estate agency work and must comply with all estate agency work legislation

For further information on property raffles, read our pdf guidance on property raffles and the Estate Agents Act 1979 (196 KB)

If you're not sure whether the work you do is estate agency work, you should speak to an independent legal adviser.

For more advice on the EAA 1979 and how it applies to you, contact: