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The EN 15733 serves the protection of consumers throughout Europe and

CEI welcomes the publication of the European standard for services of real

 

The first uniform, Europe-wide standard for the services of real estate
agents has now been published. The European standard for real estate agent
services, the EN 15733 Services of real estate agents - Requirements for the
provision of services of real estate agents, was published by the European
Committee for Standardisation (the CEN) at the end of January. 

This concludes the four years of work on this standard. Manuel Negrao,
President of CEI, the European Confederation of Real Estate Agents welcomes
the publication of this standard. "Everyone who has contributed to the work on
the development of this standard has shared the same interest:  to improve
the quality of real estate agents' services in Europe. As an amalgamation of
national real estate agents associations in Europe, we have been working
consistently in this improvement in the quality of services."  This newly published
standard filled a gap, he said, for both estate agents and consumers. Consumers
throughout Europe could use this standard as a reference when they engaged
the services of real estate agents. Manuel Negrao went on to say that, "with
the EN 15733, real estate agents and consumers in Europe now have consistent
foundations to work on."

The European standard for real estate agent services contains regulations
for the relationship between estate agents and their customers. The standard
sets out the contents of real estate agents' contracts, the information to
be received from them by the buyer and purchaser of a property, as well as
the general obligations between customers and real estate agents. Manuel
Negrao said that, "we have wrestled for a long time with the many countries
involved about real estate agents' qualifications and the different national
regulations of all the countries involved had to be taken into account".


Altogether 31 countries have contributed to the development of the European
standard for real estate agent's services. The development of the standard
was under the direction of the European Committee for Standardisation (the
CEN). Work on the contents and specialist knowledge was co-opted into the
process by representatives of the national real estate agents associations.
The interests of consumers were discerned through a consumer protection
organisation at both national and European level.  Manuel Negrao explained
that, "in this way, all the eligible interests of consumers could be
combined with the specialist circumstances of the property market in the new
European standard. In the process, both sides had to lower their sights.
Some of the perceptions on the part of the estate agents had to take just as
much second place as some of the suggestions from the European consumer
protection federation." He went on to say that, in the end, the stand! ard
had been accepted by the 31 countries involved by an overwhelming majority
of almost 96%. The voting arrangements within the CEN followed the
proportion of votes in the EU, and that showed a high degree of agreement
with the standard.


For the first time, in the EN 15733, real estate agents in Europe have
created a uniform set of regulations for carrying out their services. Real
estate agents' insurance obligations, a management system for customer
complaints, use of contracts with prescribed content, information
obligations towards customers etc., all of these are the contents of the
standard.


"We know that this European standard is the beginning of standardisation of
real estate agents' services across all national boundaries in Europe", said
Andre Groot, Chairman of the Working Committee at CEN, who managed the EN
15733.  It is extraordinary that countries with considerable statutory
standards for the estate agents' profession and countries without any legal
requirements for real estate agents were successfully able to agree on this
European standard." Many contradictory opinions were discussed over the four
years of work on the standard. "There's one thing that the standard cannot
achieve", said Andre Groot. "The standard cannot eliminate the very
different national statutory regulations for real estate agents and review
the regulation of admission to the profession. The standard also cannot
standardise the levels of commission paid in the countries in Europe. But
Andre Groot went on to say that, "the standard is a completely new se! t of
guidelines for consumers and estate agents in their dealings with one
another".


In the next stage the EN 15733 will be published by the national standards
institutes as a national standard and, in this way, all the European member
states will have a standard with the same character. The application of the
standard is voluntary for real estate agents. The CEN or the national
standards institutes cannot make the EN 15733 obligatory.  "If a real estate
agent states that their work is subject to the EN 15733 standard, however,
then a consumer can demand the rights as set out in the standard, with
respect to information, for example", Andre Groot explains.


"As the European Confederation of real estate agents, we at the CEI have a
great interest in as many estate agents as possible in Europe applying the
EN 15733 standard. Four years ago the CEI proposed the drawing up of this
European standard at the European Committee for Standardisation. This is why
we welcome the conclusion of this standard and call upon the European real
estate agents to use the standard", Manuel Negrao explained. At the same
time Manuel Negrao outlined the next steps to be taken in the implementation
of the standard in Europe. "We know that this standard is the beginning.
Together with our partner association, CEPI, we are working towards further
improvements to the standard as set out in the EN 15733. We have set up a
working group whose job it is to set out the qualification demands more
precisely for real estate agents who want to work under the EN 15733
standard.  At this stage, from the point of view of the European group! s
representing the interests of the real estate agents, the EN 15733 is still
not sufficiently well developed", Manuel Negrao went on to say. In other
places, however, the standard is very clear. "In a marginal note the EN
15733 recommends that, in order to avoid disagreements, the real estate
agent and the customer should agree on concluding a contract where the real
estate agent is commissioned exclusively by the customer.  This shows that
the standard has made some very decisive statements about the relationship
between the parties involved", Manuel Negrao explains.


The standard sets out that, both private and commercial customers come
within the remit of the EN 15733. For the EN 15733 to be totally effective
and for it to be applied between customers and estate agents, the
implementation of the standard still needs to become a national service
provision standard. The CEI expects this process to be concluded by the end
of June 2010. In May/June 2010 the CEI European Association of Real Estate
Agents will be carrying out an introduction to the EN 15733 at conferences
in the various countries, together with the national real estate agents'
associations.

Find out more at   www.webcei.com .

 

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