Compliance

Overview

Our offices are independently owned and operated under a strict franchise agreement. As franchisor we hold our franchisees to the highest standards of service & transparency. We undertake regular audits in accordance with our agreement to ensure compliance and best practice. Each franchisee and their staff has access to our highly trained support team based at our Bournemouth head office. This team provides our network with the latest training in legislation, IT, compliance and marketing.

In the unlikely event you are dissatisfied, then please follow our complaints procedure. For the avoidance of doubt, we cannot intervene in matters between a customer and a franchisee nor make representations on their behalf.

Compliance

We retain the services of a specialist compliance company to ensure we meet with ever changing legislation. Additionally, we retain a specialist Law firm in Scotland which provides the same service. Our offices all undertake mandatory training which is constantly updated.

We are members of The Letting Industry Council which contributes to Government, journalists MHCLG, tenant bodies and campaign groups to provide informed advice on how to improve the PRS.

Dual Fees and Previous Agent Agreement Review

If you have instructed another agent on a sole agency or sole selling rights basis, the terms of those instructions must be considered to avoid a possible liability to pay two commissions. It would be useful to provide a copy of any current or previous agent's agreement to the valuer so that they can advise you accordingly.

If you are unable to provide this, then they will be unable to advise as to whether you are in breach of the other agent’s agreement. If you are in any doubt, you should refer to your previous agent for clarification.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

Under The Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations, 2012 EPCs by law are required whenever a property is sold or rented. EPCs can only be produced by Domestic Energy Assessors (DEA's) who are accredited by a Government approved scheme.

An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. They provide information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs along with recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money.

The certificate also defines the impact a home has on the environment. Better-rated homes should have less impact through carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Under the regulations it is the responsibility of the relevant person to make sure the property is in possession of a valid EPC when it is marketed this means;

(a) in relation to a building which is to be sold, the seller;

(b) in relation to a building which is to be rented out, the prospective landlord;

(c) in relation to a building which is being constructed, the person who carries out the construction.

If the EPC has expired, then the relevant person must commission a new one before the property goes onto the market.

Since 1 April 2020, landlords can no longer let or continue to let properties covered by the Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations which set a minimum energy efficiency level for domestic private rented properties if they have an EPC rating below E, unless they have a valid exemption in place.

Properties Not Yet Constructed

Under The Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 EPCs by law a Predicted Energy Assessment (PEA) is needed if you are selling a property before it has been built. It provides information about the energy efficiency of the building and is simply the predicted Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) (thermal efficiency) and Environmental Impact (CO2) rating from the SAP calculations you do at the design stage. PEA's can only be produced by On Construction Domestic Energy Assessors (OCDEA's) who are accredited by a Government approved scheme. On completion of the build, it is the responsibility of the relevant person to instruct the completion of a full Energy Performance Certificate to ensure that the completed building meets the predicted energy assessment to facilitate the buildings sign off by Building Control.

Discrimination

We will not discriminate against any person on the grounds of: age, gender reassignment, being married or in a civil partnership, being pregnant or on maternity leave, disability, race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

In addition to these ‘Protected Characteristics’, we do not discriminate against parents, single parents nor anyone claiming benefits or any form of discrimination either directly or indirectly. We believe that every tenant’s circumstance is different and as such they should be treated on a case-by-case basis based on their ability to sustain a tenancy.

Compliance with Money Laundering Regulations

Should you decide to use our services then the instructed agent will be duty bound to carry out due diligence on you to confirm your identity as prescribed by the Money Laundering Regulations 2017. This information will be processed by the Agent and their staff only to ensure compliance with the Money Laundering Regulation’s and will be shared with your appointed Conveyancing Lawyer. For a seller these consist of checking identity and residency status on signing an Agency Agreement prior to Hunters as the Agent being able to market a property for sale. For a buyer the checking of identity and residency status on acceptance of an offer prior to the production of a Memorandum of Sale.

The Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5MLD)

5MLD took effect in the UK on the 10th January 2020. 5MLD made changes to the previous UK regulations and now brings letting agents into the scope of the Money Laundering Regulations for the first time. This means that letting agents will be required to assess certain tenancy agreements for their potential to be used as a mechanism for the proceeds of crime.

All tenancy agreements with a rent in excess of €10,000 per calendar month will now form part of the regulations. This means that lettings agents will be required to carry out “Know Your Customer” checks on landlords and tenants. “Know Your Customer” requires the checking of identification documents and confirmation of residency status, as well as verification that the tenancy is genuine and not set up to assist either the landlord or tenant to launder the proceeds of crime. Tenancies that fall within the scope of the regulations will require on-going monitoring to check that the initial conclusions regarding the money-laundering risk assessment remain unchanged throughout the whole term of the business relationship. Landlords and tenants who fall into this category of tenancy should therefore prepare themselves for additional questions and administration requirements.

Compliance when Using Electronic Verification Services

Some of the our branches use an online electronic verification service to check Identity and complete Anti Money Laundering checks: This system allows the Agent to verify you from basic details using electronic data, however it is not a credit check of any kind so will have no effect on you or your credit history. You understand that we will undertake a search with Experian for the purposes of verifying your identity. To do so Experian may check the details you supply against any particulars on any database (public or otherwise) to which they have access. They may also use your details in the future to assist other companies for verification purposes. A record of the search will be retained for 5 years to comply with the regulations. The enquiries do not have an impact on your credit score.

Transparency with Referral Fee Disclosure

We recommend that our customers use the services of a panel of carefully selected third party providers. Should you decide to use any of the services introduced by us then you should know that we would expect to receive a referral fee from them for the introduction. To confirm what the referral fee amounts would be, please ask the branch directly.

Please note that you are under no obligation to use any of the services of these recommended providers.

This amount enables investment in the business to provide customers with not only competitive pricing but also improving productivity and transparency. All staff and our specially chosen partner suppliers work hard to ensure that our customers consistently receive the right level of service and the results that they are looking for.

Transparency on “Mark Up” Fees

The Third Party Supplier and Referral Fee Disclosure List and/or the Landlord Price List listed on the branch pages are not an exhaustive list. If you use one of our designated contractors or third party suppliers or we arrange a service with a contractor or third party supplier for you we may charge a fee that is included in the price (this can range from 1% - 50% on top of the contractors price) details of which are available upon request before proceeding.
Additionally, some products and services are purchased in bulk, and we may earn a small profit upon resale of the same. This does not affect the price of such products or services should the customer purchase directly from the supplier.

Confirmation of TPO Membership Status

For your further information we would like to inform you that we are members of The Property Ombudsman Scheme for Estate Agents (TPOS). TPOS provides a free, fair and independent service for dealing with any unresolved disputes between yourself and your estate agent and is one of the leading regulating bodies in the industry.

Financial Services Mortgage Advice

YOUR PROPERTY MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE

Some of our branch’s use Embrace Financial Services Ltd for the provision of mortgage and protection advice. Embrace Financial Services usually charges a fee for mortgage advice. The amount of the fee will depend upon your circumstances and will be discussed and agreed with you at the earliest opportunity.

Mortgage and Protection advice is provided by Embrace Financial Services Ltd, an Appointed Representative of PRIMIS Mortgage Network (PRIMIS), a trading name of First Complete Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for mortgages, protection insurance and general insurance products only. Any other product or service offered by Embrace Financial Services Ltd may not be the responsibility of PRIMIS and may also not be subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority. Embrace Financial Services Ltd is an Introducer Appointed Representative of PRIMIS. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate some forms of Buy to Let. The guidance and/or advice contained within this website is subject to the UK regulatory regime and is therefore primarily targeted at consumers based in the UK. For more details see Embrace Financial Services' privacy notice.

Additionally, our website provides access to an online mortgage service with real advisers. This technological solution is called MortgageGym. MortgageGym is a trading style of Embrace Financial Services Ltd which is an Appointed Representative of PRIMIS Mortgage Network, a trading name of First Complete Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate some investment mortgage contracts. Embrace Financial Services is registered in England and Wales company registration number 06447316. The company's registered office is at 2nd Floor, Gateway 2 Holgate Park Drive, York, England, YO26 4GB. For more details see MortgageGym's privacy policy.

Updated: 8.07.21