For the third year running, Labour MP Stella Creasy has handed out ‘awards’ to estate agents in her constituency.
The MP for Walthamstow in east London bizarrely crowned the same agent – Central Estates – both best and worst estate agent, and best and worst letting agent.
Richard Maher, director of Central Estates, hit out at the awards, saying they were flawed because only Walthamstow residents could vote.
Most of the sellers for whom his firm had acted had moved out of the borough.
He also said that some of those voting could have based their answers on outdated experiences.
Maher held his thumbs aloft in bemusement as Creasy handed him his four ‘best’ and ‘worst’ certificates as pictures from the ‘awards’ ceremony show.
Seeing that picture, one local resident tweeted: “Fair play to thumbs aloft, at least one person in the photo seems to recognise the absurdity and pointlessness of the situation.
“Shame it’s not the one that represents us in Parliament.”
Meanwhile, Central Estates has sensibly updated both its website and Twitter account, with the news that once again it has won the award for best estate and letting agent in Walthamstow – which is true. It doesn’t seem to have made much – well, anything – of the fact that it also came last.
The screengrab shows how Central Estates’ Twitter account now looks:
However, the awards do raise questions as to whether a scheme like this, which names and shames local businesses, really is in the remit of an MP.
Creasy defended her awards, which attracted 605 nominations from residents, saying: “Individually many tenants and home owners tell me they feel individually powerless to complain for fear of reprisals.
“My office protects the identity of those who vote and verifies that only real Walthamstow residents participate to prevent any commercial interference in the outcome.”
She also said that the fact that the same agent had won both ‘best’ and ‘worst’ in the two categories showed how Central Estates “divides opinion”.
Other ‘winners’ included Wonderlease, said to have been nominated for gazumping renters, for which it picked up ‘the most shocking behaviour by a letting agency’ award.
The award for ‘most shocking behaviour by an estate agency” went to Douglas Allen, nominated for charging home buyers a ‘finders fee’ for double glazing.
The award for the ‘kindest gesture by a letting agent’ went to East & Co for not charging fees to tenants.
The award for the ‘kindest gesture by an estate agency’ went to Stow Brothers, nominated for their sponsorship and support of community projects.
Warning: If you click on the image below you will go to the MP’s Facebook page