Ambiguous fees and illegal terms … Fraud suppression identifies real estate agencies

Are you always well informed when buying real estate? Are all items correct? Do you pay legal fees? So many questions that fraud suppression tried to answer by launching a broad survey in 2019 among 2,175 institutions in France. In a context where sales boomed in 2019 (over 1 million) and agency sales increased by more than 10%, new players also arrived in the market. Therefore, it is necessary to deal with real estate agencies and networks of agents and notaries. But the problem. According to the General Administration of Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF), there are many shortcomings.

The main ones relate to the lack of information, even in 50% of cases. In particular, fee schedules. If scales had to be clearly displayed in agencies, in these cases they were “invisible” or “not visible at all”, expressing their displeasure with the DGCCRF. Others were “incomplete” and agencies gave them “at discretion.” Not to mention agencies that apply different scales than those offered or divide them between buyers and sellers. These problems with viewing fee schedules have also been noted in agencies operating on the Web. DGCCRF notes that defects are missing, absent, or not significantly updated, “and have been noted in sale and rental advertisements.”

Early Childhood Development Issues

Moreover, for rentals, the surface indicator or security deposit is often missing. Even worse, according to the fraud suppression, agencies displayed on their windows goods marked “sold out” when they were not, just to “believe in intense activity.” Problems with the popular Diagnostic Power Performance (DPE) are also numerous. Lots of ads show “DPE in progress” or “DPE blank” which is a big problem. As for new housing, while it has sometimes yet to materialize, real estate agencies still rate it “A,” DGCCRF criticizes in its report.

Sales authorizations, whether signed in-house or “concluded remotely” are also covered. Non-compliance with formalities and absence of a withdrawal form are the most common anomalies. Others are unaware of the obligation to indicate the name of the consumer intermediary or the possibility of being registered on the cold calling opposition list.

65% of agencies are in default

The Fraud Suppression also would like to remind that the profession is regulated and that only the holder of the professional card “Transactions on Real Estate and Goodwill” can open an agency. Of course, commercial agents are recruited to work with real estate agents, but they remain middlemen. If the agent is not obligated to hold a card, it must be “authorized” by the card holder on the other hand. Exercising the terms that the DGCCRF lists in its report. However, failure to comply with these rules constitutes 22% of violations. For the proven officers, they were sporting an expired “T” card, it was reported. Unauthorized employees and commercial agents account for 11% of violations.

The last point relates to deceptive business practices, which account for nearly a quarter of violations. Professionals operate without commercial authorization or authorization containing infringement, they leave advertisements in the window or on their sites when merchandise is already being rented or sold, or they provide misleading references in advertisements for sale. Unfair clauses were also identified, such as a tenant payment reminder fee or penalties in case of late payment of rent. Of the 2,175 institutions examined, nearly 65% ​​(1401) were “anomalous,” assures the DGCCRF. Number is rising.