What estate agency work is

What estate agency work is

What estate agency work is and exemptions to the law 

Estate agency work

Even if you don't call yourself an estate agent, you may be seen as one in the eyes of the law if you:

  • have a  business that deals with people who buy or sell freehold or leasehold properties, in the UK: this includes commercial and agricultural properties
  • send out property particulars and arrange viewings
  • offer personal advice to potential sellers or buyers
  • get queries from potential sellers or buyers which you pass on to clients
  • provide clients with a 'For Sale' board or put it up outside their property with your contact details

The law includes internet run businesses.

If you’re in any doubt you should consult a legal adviser.

Estate Agents Act 

If you’re an estate agent, there are important laws and regulations that may apply to you.

The Estate Agents Act 1979 explains them in more detail.

For further advice on the Act and how it applies to you, contact:

Exemptions to estate agency work

There are some exceptions to the definition of estate agency work. 

These include:

  • surveys or valuations carried out independently of any 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 entirely 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


You're classed as 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 personal advice to a seller or a buyer, such as preparing property particulars or photographs or an energy performance certificate
  • provide a branded 'For Sale' board to the seller without your contact details 

If you’re an intermediary, you are exempt from requirements that are relevant to full service estate agency businesses, such as:

Who cannot be an estate agent

You can not be an estate agent if you’re an undischarged bankrupt. You can work for another estate agency, as long as it is not your own company.

You can not engage in estate agency work if you’ve been prohibited by:

  • The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team 
  • The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) up until 31 March 2014, orders issued by the OFT still have effect

Property raffles

Guidance on property raffles and the Estate Agents Act 1979 (pdf, 196KB) (opens new window)