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Shocking moment captured on video as estate agent armed with knives confronts police

April 11, 2018

An estate agent who lost his job after a drink driving arrest has been jailed for four years after he tried to stab a policeman. Swansea Crown Court heard that Tony Buttigieg was raging after losing his £42,800 job as a manager. Worried neighbours called police after he banged on their doors, saying that someone […]

Fraud agent given a month to pay compensation to victims or stay in prison another year

A crooked agent has been ordered to repay £22,000 to his victims or face another year in prison. The sum is only part of the total involved. Peter Bell, who ran the Enfields franchise in Northampton, was last May sentenced to 26 months in jail after stealing £92,000 from tenants and landlords. Bell admitted 15 […]

EYE Newsflash: Two agents ‘disqualified’ as directors in wake of ‘cartel’ case

April 10, 2018

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has this morning announced that two agents involved in the Burnham-on-Sea cartel case have given undertakings that they will not act as directors of any UK company. David Baker, former director of estate agency Abbott and Frost Estate Agents, has given a disqualification undertaking not to act as a […]

This could have happened 39 years ago: Power to make qualifications mandatory exist under 1979 Act

A professional with experience in both financial services and property has warned that the baby could be chucked out with the bath water if agents need professional qualifications to practise. Meanwhile, agents are asking why it has taken so long for ministers to announce mandatory qualifications when they could have been brought in 39 years […]

HomeOwners Alliance challenged to display its own referral fees on website

The HomeOwners Alliance has been embroiled in a public dispute on Twitter after the Government announced that estate agents must in future disclose referral fees. Henry Pryor and others raised concerns, saying that the HOA is part-owned by ULS Technology “& whose income I believe is based on fees from conveyancing referrals”. The HOA tweeted […]

Online agents increase market share to 7% in first quarter of this year, claim

Online agents increased their market share by 11% in the first quarter of this year, and now make up 7% of the overall market. Customer intelligence firm twentyci said that in the first quarter of this year, online agents were responsible for 14,846 exchanges, compared with 205,133 by bricks and mortar agents. The firm described […]

OTM recruits 15-branch Kings Group to list its properties

OnTheMarket has announced that Kings Group, a 15-branch estate and lettings agency firm, is now listing its properties on the portal. Founded in 1991, Kings Group has offices across north London, east London, Hertfordshire and Essex, and is still listing on Rightmove and Zoopla. Karl Knipe, partner at Kings Group, said: “We are very happy […]

Savills boss could earn over £2m in performance related profit share this year

Savills’ group chief executive officer Jeremy Helsby will earn a base salary of £289,000 this year, with a maximum of performance related profit share opportunity of £2.134m. The figures are revealed in the newly published annual report for Savills, covering last year. Helsby, who reached retirement age in July 2015, is to step down at […]

Estate agents will have to be professionally qualified in future and reveal referral fees

April 9, 2018

Email to a friend Print Estate agents will in future have to hold a professional qualification and also be transparent about the referral fees they receive. The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT) will be tasked with proactively monitoring the disclosure of referral fees, and the Government will also look more closely at the […]

Opinion piece: Buckle up, we’re going to be experiencing some turbulence

It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn towards summer holidays with travel to warmer climates, freedom and a break from damp mornings, train malfunctions and buyers changing their minds because, well, just because. Of course, all the excited anticipation of the holiday is somewhat tempered by the pilot’s announcement on first boarding the […]

Proposed minimum qualifications could lead to ‘draining the swamp’, says leading estate agent

A well-known agent says that the proposals announced early yesterday could ‘drain the swamp’. Peter Wetherell, chief executive of Wetherell in central London, welcomed the future need for estate agents to have a recognised qualification. He said: “It’s the estate agency version of draining the swamp. “It is amazing that you now have regulated bouncers […]

Tipping point: Agent now paying more to Rightmove per month than in office rent

An estate agent says that following Rightmove’s latest price hike one of his branches is paying more in its monthly subscription to the portal than rent. The agent told us: “I regard this as the tipping point.” The agent pays Rightmove six separate subscriptions – four for sales and two for lettings. The branch where […]

TV star Sarah Beeny’s online firm Tepilo reports losses of over £2m as debts rise

Online agent Tepilo ended its last financial year with a loss of almost £2.3m and owing nearly £5m to creditors, with amounts due within 12 months. Tepilo has only just posted results on Companies House for the financial year ending June 30, 2017. The accounts were signed off on March 27. As at the end […]

Councils encouraged to make public when agents and landlords are banned

April 6, 2018

Letting agents who are banned should be named and shamed, says new government guidance issued this morning. The guidance – which is non-statutory – appears to have been issued to counter criticisms that the new blacklist of rogue agents and landlords will not be available to members of the general public or to prospective employers […]

HMRC continues silence on how many estate agents have been fined for anti-money laundering breaches

Anti-money laundering fines imposed by HMRC are not broken down by sector, making it impossible to verify independent claims that almost one in five estate agents have been fined over anti-money laundering breaches. HMRC supervises seven different industry sectors, including estate agents. However, it will only make available overall figures, and it is not known […]

The Paul Smith column: Why is staff turnover so high at the hybrids?

Holding on to good staff is important in any profession. For a start, you want to hang on to the expertise they’ve built up, especially if you’ve invested a substantial sum in training. Plus you don’t want to have to spend yet more money on recruiting a replacement if they only stay a few months. […]

Clean-up drove two thirds of financial advisers out of industry: Will it be the same for letting agents?

It’s so obvious that regulation of the lettings industry is overdue, given the sums involved, that to criticise the Government’s latest announcement of legislation which will introduce measures such as a new regulator, a code or practice and mandatory qualifications, looks perverse. But let me persevere. There is no obvious competent regulator amongst the plethora […]

Your plain English guide to preparing your agency for GDPR: Part three

PART THREE: Marketing processes Do not delete your database A small minority of organisations have chosen to delete their databases rather than look at ways to repurpose them and achieve GDPR compliance. This is the last thing that agents should do, as their databases hold an abundance of revenue-generating opportunities. Especially when considering that it […]

Agency world more male-dominated than other industries as women take the lower paid jobs

April 5, 2018

Email to a friend Print New data from the UK’s biggest estate agencies shows that the industry continues to be male-dominated with low proportions of women in the highest paid roles and gender pay gaps above the national average. From today, companies with more than 250 staff must annually publish the mean and median pay […]

New York, New York! Purplebricks set to take a bite out of the Big Apple?

Purplebricks, which launched in California last September, has now opened for business in New York, the US media has reported. So far, it has reportedly 13 people in New York, where the team is led by experienced realtor Robert DiBiase. The US roll-out of Purplebricks is set to be accelerated by a £125m investment by […]

Housing Secretary of State says he is committed to getting new letting agency clampdown through

The Secretary of State for Housing, Sajid Javid, has brushed off accusations that there will not be enough parliamentary time because of Brexit to get a big raft of new lettings legislation through. Javid was also challenged over how the new legislation will be policed, replying that he wants to see one ombudsman only across […]

Letting agents ‘will scramble for exit as Government tightens its grip on sector’

A number of letting agents could put their businesses up for sale rather than face the hard work and costs imposed by increasing legislation. Ian Wilson, CEO of The Property Franchise Group, said that in the last week alone, franchisees have completed on three purchases of businesses looking for a quick exit. He said: “We […]

Your plain English guide to GDPR: Part two of our mini series

PART TWO: Consumer rights and data breaches Familiarise yourself with your customers’ rights Under GDPR, your customers are given comprehensive rights that can be enforced in relation to the collection, processing or storing of their data. These rights will limit how you handle customer data. So you will need to put procedures in place to […]

New Artificial Intelligence digital search business ‘to offer competition to Rightmove and Zoopla’

April 4, 2018

A new business has launched, backed by ex-Countrywide residential boss Bob Scarff, which says it will offer competition to Rightmove and Zoopla. Ems is a digital search agent that uses artificial intelligence, meaning that an individual’s search for a property is tailored specifically to them. Visitors to Ems are asked certain questions and artificial intelligence […]

OnTheMarket announces doubling of traffic to site since flotation

OnTheMarket this morning announced a sharp rise in traffic to its site last month, with 12m visits during March. It said this was more than double the traffic in February – when it was admitted to AIM – or in March last year. The statement to the stock exchange said: “The directors consider this growth […]

Your plain English guide to preparing your agency for GDPR: Part one of our new mini-series

A three-part series that provides agents with information that cuts through the GDPR jargon. Part two is tomorrow, and part three will be on Friday. Preparing your agency for the GDPR. Your role and responsibilities. Consumer rights, breaches and data principles. Marketing processes. PART ONE: Your role and responsibilities To achieve GDPR compliance, there are […]

Revealed! The most responsive letting agents in London

Renting app Movebubble has revealed what it says are the most responsive letting agents on its platform. Movebubble, founded by Aidan Rushby, a former branch manager for letting agents Ocean, allows pre-qualified renters to search available homes for rent in London and book viewings via an app. Tenants can also leave reviews of their agent […]

Sweeping rent controls set to be introduced via Private Member’s Bill in Scotland

The Scottish Labour party is planning to introduce a ‘Mary Barbour’ law which, if passed, will bring in strict rent controls. Mary Barbour was a leading campaigner during the rent strikes of 1915. Labour’s proposals include linking rents to average wages; and giving tenants the power to challenge rents and submit claims for rent reductions. […]

New crackdown – including possible criminal sanctions – on letting and managing agents announced

April 3, 2018

With bizarre timing the Government released an Easter parade of three important new updates relating to the private rented sector. They were issued just after midnight on Easter Day. One is described as a new crackdown – albeit one that has been heavily trailed – on letting and managing agents. A second is a round-up […]

Compulsory CMP to come in before fees ban which Government admits could drive some agents out of business’

Email to a friend Print The Government has officially recognised that the fees ban could result in agents closing down. It said that Client Money Protection is to come into force before the ban on tenant fees. This is to “ensure that client money is not lost” in the instance of any agent going out […]

Daily Mail asks whether ‘meteoric rise’ of Purplebricks is built on dodgy foundations

A major article on Purplebricks at the weekend in the Daily Mail said that its “meteoric rise” could be running out of steam. The Investment Extra article by Paul Thomas is headlined: “Is Purplebricks’ stunning rise built on dodgy foundations?” The piece said that in just four years, Purplebricks has become one of the sector’s […]

‘No Agent’ shoots over target in fundraising campaign and says it is worth £7m

No Agent – which despite its name lists on Rightmove and Zoopla – has gone over target in a crowdfunding campaign. The business has been going for under two years and values itself at just over £7m. It had hoped to raise £400,000 in exchange for a stake of 5.4%. However, by the end of […]

Rightmove admits gender pay gap because so few managers are women

Rightmove has told its shareholders that it expects further growth this year, with estate agents continuing to increase their spend. In its newly issued annual report for last year – when revenue and underlying profit were both up 11% – the portal says income per advertiser is still rising, with traffic to Rightmove growing for […]

Two injured as high-powered sports car crashes into estate agency branch

Two female pedestrians were hurt when a high-powered Maserati 3200 crashed into an estate agent’s premises on the corner of two streets. One, aged 25, was seriously hurt, and the other, aged 34, had minor injuries after the car smashed into the front of Fox and Sons in Brighton. One victim is understood to have […]

Anti-money laundering latest: HMRC insists it will stick to deadline despite glitches in its own system

March 29, 2018

Despite numerous problems that agents are experiencing in trying to re-register with HMRC for anti-money laundering, the April 1 deadline is going ahead. HMRC is not only holding to the deadline, but has said that agents who have not re-registered by midnight this Saturday will be de-registered, and will then be charged £100 as new […]

Big changes announced at Romans and Leaders in shake-up of company

A major shake-up appears to be going on at Romans and Leaders, with the departure of high-profile sales chief Vince Courtney. Courtney was managing director of sales at Romans for 21 years. His Linked In profile was yesterday evening unchanged, but the official statement said that he had “recently decided to step away from the […]

MPs urge Government to reduce deposit cap to five weeks to ease financial burden for tenants

MPs have called for the security deposit cap proposed in the Draft Tenant Fees Bill to be reduced from six to five weeks as part of a range of changes to the legislation. A report based on the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s pre-legislative scrutiny of the fees ban legislation, recognises that it “would […]

Landlords taking rentals off the market as thousands are set to miss Sunday’s deadline on minimum EPC ratings

Thousands of landlords are unprepared for new energy efficiency measures being introduced in just days, and many are taking properties off the market to gain more time to implement changes, ARLA Propertymark claims. Fines of up to £4,000 can be issued from April 1 if landlords are found to be renting out new lets with […]

Chancellors’ chairman James Scott-Lee died of stroke after being trampled by horses

James Scott-Lee, the chairman of independent estate agency chain Chancellors, was trampled by his horses, and died from a stroke a day later. An inquest into his death heard that Scott-Lee, a leading figure at the RICS’s residential faculty, had been out on a seven-mile carriage driving exercise. He was accompanied by horseman Kevin Merry […]

Former estate agent who planned national network jailed for nine years after £10m fraud

March 28, 2018

Email to a friend Print A former estate agent who planned to have a national network of branches has been jailed for nine years after committing fraud worth almost £10m. Jason Butler, who ran first Homestarter and then Jump Group, used the money to fund a lavish lifestyle which included a collection of supercars, a […]

Anti-Money Laundering: are YOU having difficulty with re-registration? Please let us know

Are there any agents who are still having trouble registering (or re-registering) with HMRC for anti-money laundering? The deadline of April 1 is just two working days away, but EYE is continuing to hear from agents who are having difficulty with the online system. One reader, Chris Willey, managing director of Wilsons in Taunton, Somerset, […]

Growth in asking rents slows since last quarter but has soared in past ten years – Rightmove

Rightmove has shed light on just how much asking rents have changed in the past decade. Its latest Rental Tracker for the first quarter of 2018 shows that listed rents on the portal for two-bed properties have increased 16% to £678 in the past decade in all areas outside of London and 25% in the […]

People moving home half as often as they did before the crash, reports BBC

People are moving home half as often as they did before the crash, the BBC has reported in a national news item. Based on research by Savills, the BBC yesterday evening reported that before 2008, home owners used to move 3.6 times in their lifetime after their first purchase. Now, it is 1.8 times, with […]

Estate agent launches campaign to help overcome the challenges of moving home with an autistic child

West Midlands estate agent Green & Company has launched a campaign to help families with an autistic child handle a house move. The campaign comes amid Autism Awareness Week, which runs until April 2. Using experiences from local autistic people and their families, Green & Company’s advice includes requesting extra viewings to help familiarise autistic […]

Bruce brothers to sell some of their stake in Purplebricks to Axel Springer as part of £125m deal

March 27, 2018

Purplebricks’ share price plunged yesterday, at one stage falling to 262p. The shares finished at 280p, 10% down from yesterday’s opening price of 311p. The fall came as Purplebricks made clear the scale of its global ambitions, announcing to the London Stock Exchange a £125m investment by Germany-based international publishing house Axel Springer. The £125m […]

LSL says it plans to get back on the acquisition trail

LSL has issued its annual report for last year, telling shareholders that it delivered a robust performance in subdued market conditions. The report highlights its “strategic investment” in online agency Yopa as a milestone of last year. In 2017, group revenue was up 1.2% at £311.6m, but pre-tax profits were down almost 37% at £40.1m. […]

Chestertons goes back to Zoopla – but also signs new five-year agreement with OnTheMarket

Chestertons, a founder member of OnTheMarket, has signed a listings agreement with ZPG. However, it is continuing to list its properties with OTM and has recently signed a new five-year agreement. The agent is the second OTM founder member to return to ZPG in the last few weeks following the return of Douglas & Gordon. […]

Price falls set to increase across UK’s biggest cities – Hometrack

The annual rate of house price growth in London has reached a seven-year low and could be in negative territory by the middle of this year, research claims. The February Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index shows two fifths of the capital’s postcodes registering year-on-year price falls. The housing data firm said London registered annual […]

Mystery four agents not (yet) outed on Twitter after refusing to settle bills

After yesterday’s EYE story about the unknown agent featured on Twitter after broadcaster Jeremy Vine heard her discussing prices, names, and addresses, here is a new social media mystery. Just who are the four agents, also not named, who are alleged on social media to have booked places on training courses, on Integra Property Services, […]

Agents claim Stamp Duty exemptions are starting to work as first-time buyer sales hit new high

The Stamp Duty exemptions are starting to have an impact on first-time buyers, agents claim, as sales to them reached a three-year high last month. Data from the NAEA Propertymark February Housing Report found that the proportion of sales per branch to first-time buyers (FTB) rose to 29% from 27% in January. Year on year, […]