The code of ethics for estate agents in Catalonia

The code of ethics for the provision of mediation, advisory and management services in real estate transactions involving the purchase, sale, rental, exchange or transfer of real estate and the rights thereto, including their establishment, is made up of the following principles to be observed by the real estate agent:

1. Mandate

The real estate agent will not advertise or make offers of properties, nor will he or she receive amounts or formalize any contract or pre-contract with third parties without the prior subscription of the mandate, and will not accept it if he or she does not have sufficient competence and capacity to carry it out. The mandate will be subject to the rules of the Law on the Right to Housing that regulate it.

2. Principle of legality

The estate agent shall act subject to the law in force and to the ethical codes established in the sector, with special consideration for the protection of the rights of consumers and users, without making references or using names that lead or could lead to error or confusion regarding the true nature of his company or establishment and the services he provides.

3. Professional diligence and independence

The real estate agent will act with diligence, honesty, responsibility and professional independence. He will not act as a mediator for both parties, unless there is an express agreement to this effect.

4. Capacity

In the development of those assignments that, due to their complexity, require technical or legal advice beyond their scope, the real estate agent will recommend, in the interest of his clients, the opportunity to require it.

5. Client protection and confidentiality

The real estate agent will protect and promote the legitimate interests of his clients, always acting with fidelity, loyalty, impartiality, absolute discretion and respecting the principles of confidentiality and professional secrecy, always subject to the law.

6. Protection of consumers and users

The estate agent shall not carry out, encourage or participate in situations or actions of discrimination, harassment, under-housing, over-housing or any other form of illegal accommodation.

7. Principles of loyalty and honesty

The real estate agent will not obtain hidden benefits and undertakes not to acquire, in part or in whole, or through third parties with whom he has any personal, professional or shareholding relationship that may result in a conflict of interest, any property or rights over the property in respect of which he has been commissioned, unless the client gives his express consent to this effect.

8. Incompatibilities

The real estate agent linked to the public administration by an administrative, labour or service provision relationship will abstain from managing or intervening in operations with respect to those properties located within the territorial demarcation in which this relationship develops, with the aim of avoiding situations from which conflicts of interest may arise.

9. Principle of truthfulness

The real estate agent must comply with the regulations that prohibit the use of illegal advertising and, especially, with the regulations and mandatory mentions of advertising and supply established by the Law on the Right to Housing. Likewise, he must comply with the principle of truthfulness, so that he does not hide fundamental data of the objects to which they refer and does not induce or may induce the recipients to any confusion or error with economic repercussions.

10. Obligation of verification

Before signing any documents relating to the transaction with third parties, the agent must have verified the details provided by the principals and the ownership, charges and registration fees of the property.

11. Obligation to provide information

The real estate agent must provide the minimum information contained in the Housing Rights Act in writing before receiving any amount on account of the transaction price. He/she will also have at his/her disposal the full text of this code of ethics for clients, consumers and users.

12. Contractual principles

The estate agent must respect and enforce the contractual principles set out in the Law on the Right to Housing, and in particular

a. He must be scrupulous with respect to the principles of concreteness, clarity and simplicity in the wording, in such a way that direct understanding is possible and without reference to texts or documents that have not been provided prior to or simultaneously with the formalisation of the contract.

b. It must respect the principle of good faith and a fair balance between the rights and obligations of the parties, excluding unfair terms, as defined by consumer and user protection legislation.

13. Provision of documentation

The estate agent must comply with and enforce the obligation to provide his clients with the minimum documentation required by the Law on the Right to Housing when selling and renting.

14. Training

The real estate agent must be permanently informed of the legislation and conditions of the real estate market, and must make his employees observe this code of ethics and have them follow the professional training and retraining programmes of the sector appropriate to the tasks they perform.

15. Competence

The real estate agent shall ensure that relations with his professional colleagues are governed by the principles of respect, collaboration and loyalty, and shall refrain from advising or interfering in assignments exclusively managed by them.

16. Responsibility and guarantee

The estate agent must constitute and maintain a guarantee and a civil liability policy with permanent validity that allows him to respond to the amounts he receives while not making them available to the recipients, and to respond to his professional activity.

17. Register of approval

The estate agent must be registered in the obligatory register of homologation of the Departament de Medi Ambient i Habitatge of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

18. Principle of collaboration

The estate agent will inform the administration of the Generalitat de Catalunya and/or, if necessary, the professional association to which he or she belongs, of all actions of which he or she is aware that do not conform to or respect this code of ethics or contravene the precepts of the Law on the Right to Housing.

19. Identification

On all documents, commercial paper and advertising, the agent must identify himself with his registration number in the mandatory register. In addition, he shall place the plaque approved by the regulations of the aforementioned register in each of his establishments, in a place visible to the public. Real estate agents in practice may share the register’s badge with the collegiate badge and the collegiate number.