Harwood T/A RSBS Group v Smith and Smith and Bedwell Watts and Company (a Firm): CA 14 Nov 1997

An estate agent with sole selling rights was not entitled to claim commission on a sale where he had contributed no act to the sale, even though his terms were specific enough to deal with the particular circumstances which had arisen here. Such a clause should be interpreted tightly against those seeking to place reliance upon it. On a sensible reading of the whole statement, the liability to pay remuneration in a case such as this must, therefore, be limited to the purchaser who was introduced to the client by that estate agent during the period. If the purchaser is introduced to the client in any other way, the estate agent can only claim remuneration if he has conducted negotiations with the purchaser about the property during that period. Hobhouse LJ: ‘The purpose of section 18 and of the regulations is to attempt to ensure that the person instructing the estate agent shall know precisely what his liabilities to the estate agent are. Part of the mischief to which the Act and regulations were directed was the use by estate agents of expressions such as ‘Sole Agency’ or ‘Sole Selling Rights’, which had no clearly defined meaning and the implications of which would not be fully understood by the client.’
Lord Justice Hobhouse, Lord Justice Pill, Lord Justice Mummery
Times 08-Dec-1997, [1997] EWCA Civ 2725, [1998] 1 EGLR 5
Estate Agency Act 1979 18, Estate Agents (Provision of Information) Regulations 1991 (SI 1191 No 859) 5(1)
England and Wales
CitedWood (John D) and Co v Dantata; Beauchamp Estates v Dantata CA 1987
The purchaser liked inspecting houses and the vendor had appointed ten firms to act for him as estate agents. Each of the estate agents was approached by this purchaser and each of the estate agents took the would be purchaser over the property of . .
CitedPeter Yates v Bullock 1992
Whether an introduction of a purchaser by an estate agent to the vendor was the ‘effective cause’ of the transaction which ultimately takes place must be resolved by an examination of the facts as a whole. . .

Cited by:
ApprovedG and S Properties v Donald Francis and Another SCS 13-Jun-2001
The pursuers were contracted to sell a property with sole selling rights. The contract was terminable on two weeks notice. Notice was given, and another company engaged. A buyer confused the two agents and obtained details from the pursuer’s office, . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 24 April 2021; Ref: scu.143124