An online scam by crooked estate agents is being officially outlawed by industry watchdogs as the Government is now making it illegal for estate agents to amend existing properties and relist them as new.
Agents will no longer be able to cover up the falling asking price of a home using the sneaky practice known as ‘portal juggling’. Some estate agents previously used ‘portal juggling’ as a tool of the trade.
This online trick involves taking properties off internet sites when they cannot sell, dropping the asking price and then relisting it but with slight differences so that it looks like a new listing online.
Aside from eagle eyed buyers, the property appears to have just gone on the market rather than have been hanging around, unsold, for weeks or even months.
The practice is no longer allowed after an updating of the official Codes of Practice from the industry’s watchdog, The Property Ombudsman.
Following complaints from both the public and those within the industry, and concerns from MPs too, the Ombudsman has revised the rules to ban portal juggling as a way of hiding price cuts.
It is one of several changes to existing rules to make the profession more transparent and less open to cowboy practices.
Other changes include clearer guidelines on pre-contract deposits, fees to automatically include VAT so people know how much they will have to pay and a better referencing system for tenants and landlords.
The Ombudsman outlawed the deceptive practice following a string of complaints from the public and people within the industry.
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