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Matthew Hancock
Your Local MP

Not so friendly advice

Thursday, 15th October 2009.

Homeowners who have recently purchased their property and then received a letter claiming they could be prosecuted, are being told by trading standards officers not to panic as this is totally untrue.

Several homeowners in the Ipswich area have received letters telling them that their new home is still being advertised on websites as ‘sold subject to contract’.

The letter, which comes with the heading ‘A Friendly Piece of Advice…..’ claims that it is illegal for homes to be advertised as ‘sold subject to contract’ once people have moved in and that the new owners could be prosecuted if it is not removed.

It is the responsibility of the estate agents to remove property details from websites within 21 days of completion, not the responsibility of the homeowner.

Steve Greenfield, Suffolk County Council’s county trading standards officer, said: “This is the second time we’ve been made aware that these letters are in circulation in Ipswich and their claims are completely false. Homeowners cannot be prosecuted if their house remains on a website and anyone who has received a letter saying otherwise should contact Suffolk Trading Standards who are currently investigating.

“The people who sent these letters out have clearly had no thought for those who will be receiving them. We are working hard to trace the source of these letters and appropriate action will be taken as and when we do.”

Anyone in Suffolk who has received such a letter should contact Suffolk Trading Standards on 01473 264859 or email tradingstandards@suffolk.gov.uk.

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