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What impact could the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015) have on the property sector?
Brie Stevens-Hoare QC of Hardwicke examines the likely implications of the new legislation.
CRA 2015 is likely to impact on sections of the property sector, particularly residential property but it is possible it will also impact on commercial property in some ways.
It is important to note first that a consumer is an individual—in other words a human being not a corporate entity. Consumers are those individuals who are parties to the contract forpurposes which are wholly or mainly outside their trade, business,
craft or profession. Where someone takes a residential tenancy or purchases a residential property to occupy rather than let they will be a consumer, unless they act through a company. No doubt there will also be arguments about whether someone agreeing
to purchase or lease premises out of which they will operate their business is entering that agreement forpurposes which are mainly within their trade. That transaction would of course be specially forthe purpose of allowing them to operate their
business but their business would not necessarily be entering such arrangements. Until that issue is determined it will be unclear whether acquisition of interests in business premises could, in some instances, be affected by CRA 2015.
A trader is simply a person or company entering the contract forpurposes relating to his/its trade, business, craft or profession. Companies and individuals may be traders. It follows if any vendor or landlord is in the business of dealing with property
or letting even in a small way they will be traders. It is unlikely one-off transactions would result in
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