What is a cooling off period?

Q: What is a cooling off period and when does it apply? I'm having second thoughts about my estate agent and wondering if there is still time to end my contract?


I’m not a lawyer and therefore you should seek advice from a legal professional. However my understanding of the latest regulations of a cooling off period are: if an estate agency contract is signed away from an estate agent’s premises, i.e. in your home, they are compelled to allow you to cancel the contract within 14 days of that signing. It is deemed a distance contract in that event. Therefore, you can change your mind.

However, there is a caveat in that if you have expressly given permission (and this would have to be demonstrated) for marketing to commence before the 14 days, this would negate your right to cancel. Importantly, this cannot simply be a ‘pre-ticked’ box that the agent displays on the contract but rather you must clearly go out of your way to state that you want marketing (and therefore their costs) to begin soonest.

The same especially applies to online agents either by way of an agreement being entered into electronically or face to face.

Estate agent contracts signed by the customer in the estate agent’s office do not fall within the Regulations and so do not have the benefit of a cooling off period.

Answered by Russell Quirk, eMoov 


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