I rang up an estate agent to make an offer on a house and was told they were not going to pass this on to the seller because there were already 3 offers on the table.

I am aware that under UK Law estate agent must pass on all offers made on the property right up until the exchange of contracts.

I keep seeing reference to this being in the Estate Agents Act 1979, but for the life I cannot find it in there. Does anyone know the specific section that covers this requirement.

  • 1
    are you sure that was what was said? Might the agent have said "3 higher offers"? And are you sure your interpretation is correct?
    – Trish
    Jan 29, 2022 at 15:23
  • We didn't even discuss the figure I was going to offer. They simply said an offer had already been made and they weren't going to be sending anymore over to the seller. Jan 31, 2022 at 10:00

2 Answers 2


s.3 of the Estate Agents Act 1979 allows for "Orders prohibiting unfit persons from doing estate agency work" if, for example, contrary to section s.3(1)(d) they are found to have

...engaged in a practice which, in relation to estate agency work, has been declared undesirable by an order made by the Secretary of State.

One such practice declared undesirable by the Secretary of State is at paragraph 2 of Schedule 3 of the Estate Agents (Undesirable Practices) (No. 2) Order 1991 :

The failure by an estate agent to forward to his client promptly and in writing accurate details (other than those of a description which the client has indicated in writing he does not wish to receive) of any offer the estate agent has received from a prospective purchaser inrespect of an interest in the land.

but note the emboldened caveat which may explain why certain details are not always passed on.

  • 1
    Said conditions might include "only offers where there's a chain shorter than x" or "only cash offers"
    – Richard
    Jan 29, 2022 at 22:48
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    @Richard or more commonly "offers under X". Jan 30, 2022 at 13:56

Section 3 of that Act, together with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Estate Agents (Specified Offences) (No. 2) Order 1991.

The 2008 Regulations are about protecting the public from unscrupulous trading practices in general, including various examples of misleading by omitting information. The 1991 Order, as amended, makes that a designated offence for Section 3(a)(i)(iii) of the 1979 Act.

That means that the "lead enforcement authority" could impose various professional sanctions. That authority is the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team, housed (for obscure local government reasons) within Powys County Council but with a nationwide remit. In their guidance for estate agents, linked from https://www.propertymark.co.uk/resource/ntselat-guidance-on-property-sales-and-lettings.html, they list not passing on offers as an example of a misleading omission. (But the seller may have given them instructions not to bother passing on non-competitive offers, for example, which would be OK.)

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