Aspiring new trade body CIELA (Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents) has held its first meeting.
Altogether, there were 24 people – of whom 18 were agents – present at the lengthy meeting. Six other agents sent their apologies.
CIELA said afterwards: “There was unanimous agreement that the lack of a shared PR resource to represent the industry to counter the effects of misleading corporate marketing is the most urgent problem, but only one of many.
“Passionate discussions lasted five hours and every single attendee had their voice heard at the meeting.”
Luke Gidney, owner of Let Leeds letting agency, said: “As an industry, we have never faced so many serious challenges at once. We urgently need a united voice now, without corporate influence.”
Vivienne Harris, owner of Heathgate Properties in London, said: “Currently we are an industry that is under attack. We need an organisation that can lobby government and educate the public on what it is we actually do.”
CIELA itself said: “The damaging effects of the PR of many fake agent companies taking money up front for merely advertising properties, yet calling themselves estate agents, were also noted.”
David Butler of ResiAnalytics presented to the group, explaining that the opportunity for independent agents is absolutely enormous.
He claimed the combined data set would be three months more up to date than Land Registry, and have a sample size much bigger than the Halifax index has. It could become the ultimate authority on property market transactions and sentiment.
It was also noted that the opportunity in lettings for a similar index is even greater, as no such index has ever existed before.
CIELA said: “With data that powerful, the Government would have no choice but to listen to the views of the industry as a whole, as opposed to the views of a small number of corporate brands.”
Charlie Wright, CIELA founder, said: “Independent firms are the property industry.
“The public need to recognise that, collectively, independent agents form the vast majority of the personal service industry on which tens of thousands of people rely every day.”