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MP behind Bill that will let tenants sue landlords invites horror stories from renters on Facebook

January 17, 2018

Email to a friend Print The MP behind a Private Members Bill now being supported by the Government that could pave the way for legislation that lets tenants sue their landlords is to hold a live Facebook discussion this week, which invites horror stories about poor housing. The invitation comes ahead of a second reading […]

Savills’ boss reveals plans to step down after 40 years – giving 12 months notice

Email to a friend Print Savills group chief executive Jeremy Helsby is to retire at the end of this year, after a 39-year career at the business. Helsby, who has spent 11 years in the top global post, will be succeeded by Mark Ridley, currently CEO of Savills UK and Europe. Ridley will take up […]

Divorced, beheaded, died – here’s an everyday tale of ‘disruptive’ estate agents

Email to a friend Print Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived. It’s the way to remember how many wives Henry the eighth had. So, who are the winners and the losers in the battle of the online/hybrid agents? An interesting piece takes a look at the ‘six wives’ of proptech: http://proptechconsult.com/2018/01/16/six-wives-proptech/ Clearly, the article suggests […]

Sales volumes decline across the whole of the UK

Email to a friend Print Sales volumes fell across all UK regions, with the biggest declines in London and the midlands, the latest Land Registry data shows. The Land Registry’s latest House Price Index reveals that volumes in London were down 21% annually in September to 6,494 sales, bigger than the 15.8% recorded a month […]

Online agent declares war on rival Purplebricks as it runs spoof ‘commisery’ advert

January 16, 2018

Email to a friend Print An online agent has declared all-out war on Purplebricks – and is deploying controversial allAgents reviews in its weaponry. Last night, however, Purplebricks said that the claims made by Scottish House Move are both inaccurate and misleading. The allAgents reviews shown on the Scottish House Move’s home page are the […]

Expert advice: GDPR – just four letters but ones with huge implications for agents

Email to a friend Print The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will become law on May 25 this year, and will tighten up and increase the responsibilities on all businesses regarding their management and use of the data they hold. As an estate agency business you will hold a large amount of data as “data […]

How confusing rules on Stamp Duty surcharge almost cost estate agent £14,000 on his own purchase

Email to a friend Print Rules on the 3% Stamp Duty surcharge are so confusing that even an experienced estate agent almost fell foul of them. David Poole, a partner at Michael Poole estate and letting agents in Teesside, was buying a property with his wife Emma. The couple were moving out of rented accommodation […]

Petition opposing lettings fee ban nears milestone of 10,000 signatures

Email to a friend Print The petition on the Government website opposing the impending fees ban has now reached almost 8,000 signatures. Essex agent Rob Farrelly is behind the petition, which calls for a cap on fees rather than a ban. If the petition attracts 10,000 signatures, then the Government has to respond. Farrelly, of […]

Land Registry seeks views on cancelling leasehold management restrictions

Email to a friend Print The Land Registry is seeking views on the removal of leasehold restrictions such as the need for conveyancers to get a certificate of compliance from a management company or landlord when changing property details or checking if clauses have been followed. The Conveyancing Association (CA) is working with the Land […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: Ex-Foxtons man who founded proptech company steps aside

January 15, 2018

Email to a friend Print Proptech company Goodlord, which has raised £10m in funding, has announced a new person at its helm. He is William Reeve. Its founder, former Foxtons negotiator Richard White was this morning described by the firm as “former CEO”. Reeve who has been involved in various board roles in UK tech […]

Property drought drags on with ‘no sign of rush to market’

Email to a friend Print The New Year has opened without any sign of a rush to market. The warning is from Rightmove, which today also said that the number of sales agreed fell 5.5% in the final quarter of last year compared with the same period in 2016. It also said that stock per […]

‘Secret breakfast’ to take place as new project looks for £10m-plus funding to future-proof high street agents

A new top-secret venture in estate agency is planning on raising over £10m for a project that will ‘future proof’ high street firms. Called Project UHA, a “secret breakfast” is being held this Friday in London, with “select” agents invited from across the country. It is understood they will be signing non-disclosure agreements ahead of […]

Agent abolishes old job titles and gets rid of commissions pot as it ups fight against onliners

An agent is offering a business based on what it sees as the ultimate in customer service. The model is based on assigning each client and property to just one dedicated client manager, who handles the deal all the way through, from marketing appraisal to instruction, marketing, negotiation and sale. In return, individual staff get […]

Aspirant trade body CIELA to make come-back with self-policing register of agents

Aspirant trade body CIELA (the Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents) says it is compiling a list of legally compliant agents, ahead of what it insists will be its launch. And it has warned that it will forge ahead with the idea whether agents co-operate or not. In a rambling announcement to members last […]

American firm offering robots to handle viewings gets set to launch in UK

January 12, 2018

Email to a friend Print An American firm offering robotic viewings is planning to expand into the UK. The idea has been sharply criticised by Ed Mead, who runs outsourced viewing service Viewber. He suggested the idea was ludicrous and also queried safety aspects. Zenplace Property Management, based in San Francisco, California, already claims to […]

Estate agent, 24, reveals plans to hire 20 people just one year after launching business

A 24-year-old estate agent who is already employing five people says he is planning to take on another 15 – just a year after launching his business. Adam Horton (pictured) says his ambitious plans are possible because of the ‘hub’ business model he has adopted at his Leicester-based firm, Hortons. Hortons started life last January […]

More landlords ‘to quit sector as mortgage relief changes start to bite and profit becomes elusive’

The number of landlords planning to sell some of their buy-to-let properties has hit its highest level for a decade, it has been claimed. A fifth of landlords said they would offload properties this year as the mortgage interest relief changes start to hit, research by a landlord body suggests. Restrictions to mortgage interest relief […]

Humberts looks to grow its franchise network into double figures

Humberts is hoping to grow its franchise network this year after appointing a head of franchising to lead the charge. Nick Evans, formerly head of residential sales across the agency brand, will take on the newly created position from his local branch in Sherborne, Dorset. Humberts, which first announced a franchise strategy in 2016, said […]

Estate agency to remain closed today in remembrance of founder

The funeral of an estate agent who founded his own family firm and worked in it up until his death takes place today. The business itself will be closed today as a mark of respect and remembrance to Brian Start, who has died aged 76. Brian set up his firm in 1977, Start & Co, […]

Sex, drugs and property: Insider agent lifts lid on X-rated world of ‘retail’ estate agency

January 11, 2018

Explosive allegations have been made in a book about corporate estate agency involving drugs, sex and bent deals. No agency is named in the book, Sex, Drugs and Property, written by an estate agent who is only identified as Agent X. He or she is someone said to be working on the front line of […]

The Paul Smith column: Are agents sleepwalking into a data protection nightmare where customers turn you in?

If you’re unsure what the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) means for your business when it is enforced on May 28, then you have a wake-up call in store. A very real danger is that savvy members of the public who may once have had some kind of dealings with you will ‘dob’ you in […]

Fees ban implementation date of ‘after’ spring 2019 is confirmed for a second time

The ban on lettings agents’ fees charged to tenants will not come into force until “after” spring next year, it has been confirmed for the second time within a month. Yesterday’s announcement by the National Approved Letting Scheme follows an earlier statement about the timing, issued to BBC Radio’s You and Yours programme before Christmas. […]

New rules on holding deposits set to be part of fees ban legislation

New rules over holding deposits are set to come into force in conjunction with the ban on fees. The draft Tenants Fees Bill, as proposed, will require holding deposits to be refunded to tenants within seven days of the tenancy agreement being completed, or within 15 days of the deposit being taken if the agreement […]

ZPG hints at more acquisitions as it arranges new funding

ZPG is strucuting a new debt package consisting of issuing £200m in senior notes due in 2023 and agreeing a new £200m revolving credit facility with lenders. ZPG will use the funds to refinance its existing loans and revolving credit facilities. Further funds will be used to pay fees associated with the refinancing. In a […]

Online agents take a nibble out of the high street with 61% growth – but still have just 6% of the market

January 10, 2018

Email to a friend Print Online agents increased their market share by over 60% at the end of last year while high street agents saw their business dip. However, despite the sharp rise in online agents’ exchanges, they still started this year with only 6% market share. The new figures also suggest that almost as […]

Call to ban agents from selling services to buyers while acting for sellers

Estate agents should be banned from selling services, such as conveyancing, to buyers while acting for sellers in the same transaction. The call has come from the HomeOwners Alliance, which is warning there is a conflict of interest of the type that is banned in other professional sectors such as accountancy and law. It is […]

‘Don’t ban referral fees – but make agents declare their existence and value early on’, plea by conveyancers

Referral fees paid by conveyancers to estate agents should not be banned – but their existence and their value should be disclosed. Property law regulator the Council for Licensed Conveyancers said that both agents and conveyancers should be required to reveal the fees early on, giving people enough time to shop around if they wished. […]

Arun Estates moves to correct ‘massive mistake’ describing new brand as an online agent

A reference to Arun Estates’ new hub business Hadleys London as an online agent on its own website was a “massive mistake”, the group’s managing director David Lench has admitted. He said it was a proof reader’s mistake, joking that as punishment they will now be seconded to the firm’s anti-money laundering department for the […]

New housing minister previously voted against lettings fee ban

The Conservatives have appointed their seventh housing minister since 2010. He has in the past voted against the ban on letting agent fees. Dominic Raab, MP for Esher and Walton in Surrey, was appointed yesterday as part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s reshuffle, replacing Alok Sharma who was just seven months in the post. Raab […]

EYE NEWSFLASH! New CEO announced for Purplebricks in UK

January 9, 2018

Lee Wainwright has been promoted to the role of chief executive officer of Purplebricks UK, the firm told the Stock Exchange this morning. The appointment comes less than a year after Wainwright was recruited as chief operations officer, on March 15, 2017. He takes up his new role in charge of Purplebricks’ UK business with […]

Fees ban punishment regime could breach Human Rights Act, MPs are warned by law expert

A legal expert has highlighted a “serious omission” in the Draft Tenant Fees Bill, which could leave local authorities able to impose fines of up to £30,000 on letting agents and landlords without a conviction. The revelation came to light during the first pre-legislative hearing by the Communities and Local Government Committee into the Bill […]

Proptech firm makes almost 40 redundant but pledges that agents will see no change in levels of service

Almost 40 people have been made redundant from innovative proptech firm Goodlord in a restructure of the business. Headcount has been reduced by 28%, with 38 people in sales and marketing losing their jobs after a consultation. The firm, set up by ex-Foxtons agent Richard White, puts a number of letting agency processes, such as […]

High street’s fight-back: Big regional firm launches new brand charging from £1,000 upfront

The large regional group which last week announced that it was walking away from any online offering, has revealed its fight-back strategy. Arun Estates, with over 100 branches in the south, yesterday launched a “hub” business model in the form of a new bricks and mortar brand, charging from £1,000 paid upfront. Hadleys London, the […]

Tributes as former ARLA President Susan Fitz-Gibbon dies after decade-long battle with cancer

Susan Fitz-Gibbon, a former President of ARLA and an inspirational figure in the lettings industry, has died after a long and brave battle with cancer. She was 57. After a hugely successful period with Chesterton, where she was known as the powerhouse of its lettings business, she founded Fitz-Gibbon, with branches in London, in 1988, […]

EYE NEWSFLASH: ‘New’ housing minister announced in May’s Cabinet re-shuffle

January 8, 2018

Sajid Javid has been announced as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in Theresa May’s re-shuffle. However this looks more like a re-appointment than anything else: Javid was already responsible for housing as Communities Secretary, a Cabinet position. His new job title seems to have done little more than add in the […]

Former Guild and Fine & Country boss hits out at strategy to offer easyProperty licences

Email to a friend Print The former director of Fine & Country and the Guild has made plain his disapproval of parent company GPEA’s online strategy which involves offering easyProperty licences to member agents. Mike Bidwell, director of the Guild and F & C for almost ten years until 2015, has hit out at the […]

New tenancy deposit replacement product ‘will do more than replace lost income’ when fees are banned

A new tenancy deposit replacement product will put money in the pockets of letting agents each time a tenant takes up the option. Designed to more than replace the loss of income when the fees ban comes in, it is likely to average £250, and in London to be some £350. The money will be […]

Countrywide reveals 10% spike in first-time buyer registrations since Stamp Duty exemption

Estate agency giant Countrywide has attributed a 10% annual spike in first-time buyer registrations in London to the Stamp Duty exemption. Chancellor Philip Hammond used his Budget in November to announce the end of Stamp Duty for first-time buyers on purchases of up to £300,000, and on the first £300,000 on properties worth up to […]

Mothers pride: Women use social media to give unprompted recommendations of local agent

There are rating sites and there’s Google and Facebook for reviews – and then there are mums. When a Hampshire woman was thinking of putting her home on the market, she asked a local Facebook group called Emsworth Mums (3,700 members) for their opinions as to the best estate agents. The recommendations were quick to […]

Is that an OTM logo you see before your eyes? No – we’re talking Mods and Rockers!

We’ve got two more beautiful/quirky estate agents’ offices this morning, including one for movie fans – and followers of OnTheMarket. Leigh Ryan, manager of Palms Properties, sent us this image of their offices on Palm Drive on Brighton Marina. Alive with bright colours, it features a mural representing all that Brighton is best known for, […]

EYE NEWSFLASH! New platform aimed at challenging portals will open up listings to anyone with a smartphone

January 1, 2018

Email to a friend Print An e-platform which will allow anyone to upload property listings by taking pictures on their smartphone is due to launch this spring. My Backyard sent an email on Christmas Eve to potential investors explaining itself as an “e-platform for private landlords/sellers”. The team behind My Backyard includes Angels Media, which […]

Reviews site allAgents pulls out of ‘peace talks’ with Purplebricks – but online agent gives own version of events

November 30, 2017

Email to a friend Print Reviews site allAgents has pulled out of talks with Purplebricks which had been held to try and settle the dispute between them over their ‘fake’ reviews row. allAgents said it withdrew from the negotiations yesterday afternoon. However, Purplebricks yesterday evening delivered its own strongly-worded version of events, saying that allAgents […]

Fields of gold: How tiny independent has propelled itself to being one of UK’s top agents

A small independent with just two branches and 12 staff is bracing itself for some 10,000 new homes to come on to its books – making it almost certainly the most valuable estate agency in the UK by size. The Wilkinson Partnership, with offices in Winslow, Bucks, and Leighton Buzzard, Beds, is on the threshold […]

Land Registry announces new plans to speed up home buying and selling

Email to a friend Print The Land Registry yesterday announced a new business strategy, aimed at speeding up the buying and selling of homes in England and Wales. The new strategy is also aimed at making the process cheaper and simpler. The Land Registry aims to digitise 95% of its daily transactions within five years, […]

One-third of landlords could drop letting agent once fees ban comes in

Nearly one-third of landlords who currently use a letting agent may stop doing so once the fees ban comes in. The finding emerges in a new report from specialist lender Paragon, based on interviews with over 200 ‘experienced’ landlords. It shows that 73% of such landlords currently use an agent, but that 30% of these […]

OnTheMarket announces new signing of major agency group

OnTheMarket has signed a five-year listing agreement with major independent Chancellors Group. Under the agreement, Chancellors will advertise all of its UK residential sales and lettings properties at OTM and will actively promote the portal brand with digital and branch-based marketing activity. The agreement will kick in once OnTheMarket lists publicly, at which point it […]

EYE NEWSFLASH! Zoopla announces record traffic as revenue jumps and agents return

November 29, 2017

Record traffic and leads to agents have been announced by Zoopla this morning. ZPG said there were 648m visits and 56m leads in the 12 months to the end of September. Its property division saw revenue leap by 41% to £122.3m, with the number of member agents jumping by 6% to 14,775 branches. Average advertising […]

New DIY online agency launches charging vendors £65 and with over 300 local experts – but who is mystery partner?

A new DIY online estate agency has thrown down the gauntlet to the high street amid some mystery, as it launched this week, charging sellers £65 and with over 300 ‘qualified experts’ nationwide, in an arrangement with another un-named partner organisation, and designed to encourage good reviews. The partner is emphatically said not to be […]

Traditional v. online: Almost one in five high street agents now playing ‘both games at once’

More agents now consider themselves to be operating as hybrids. The 18% proportion compares with 11% two years ago, while almost one in five of high street agents are playing ‘both games at once’. The findings are among the first to emerge from the preliminary results of the latest survey tracking the competitive landscape between […]

Wooing mums back to the estate agency workplace – with family friendly hours and no CVs

A new website to help parents back into estate agency careers while seeking a work/life balance is proving a big hit. The Daisy Chain was quietly launched a few months ago and is the brainchild of Louise Deverell-Smith, herself the mother of three children, and the wife of estate agency recruiter Andrew Deverell-Smith. However, the […]