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easyProperty and Guild deal ‘driven by desperation’ and ‘unlikely to succeed’, claim

June 23, 2017

The ‘merger’ between easyProperty and the Guild of Property Professionals and its sister brand Fine & Country has been described as either “an unholy alliance or a godsend”. The deal, touted as being worth £60m, is set to finalise next month and has now been scrutinised by proptech experts Eddie Holmes and James Dearsley. The […]

New move-tracking service aims to cut transaction times to just two days

A company launching a new service to track the progress of transactions has raised £850,000 to launch. Properr makes the claim that Track My Move believes it can cut the standard home purchase transaction time to just two days. Track My Move aims to bring together customers, estate agents and solicitors on to one platform, […]

Hamilton Fraser buys Paul Shamplina’s Landlord Action business

HF Resolution Ltd, a subsidiary of Hamilton Fraser which operates both a tenancy deposit scheme and a redress scheme, has acquired well-known eviction firm Landlord Action. Landlord Action was founded by Paul Shamplina in 1999 as a fixed-fee tenant eviction service. It has since acted in more than 35,000 problem tenant cases and obtained Solicitors […]

Timely launch for new deposit replacement service which looks to recruit – and reward – agents

A new service has launched into the burgeoning market where traditional tenancy deposits can be substituted. It joins existing providers Reposit and Dlighted, while Zero Deposit is to launch later this year. The flatfair launch is also timely, given the capping of tenants’ deposits announced in the Queen’s Speech. Flatfair’s proposition is that tenants pay […]

Tenants urged to keep fighting for rent controls and an end to ‘evictions epidemic’

Tenant activists group Acorn has welcomed the draft Tenant Fees Bill, with its ban on letting fees and caps on deposits to the equivalent of one week’s rent for a holding deposit and one month’s rent for a bond. National organiser Stuart Melvin said: “This is a huge victory and is thanks to the efforts […]

More complaints against agents resolved by Ombudsman with three in four upheld

June 22, 2017

The number of awards that The Property Ombudsman ordered agents to pay last year broke the £1m mark for the first time. In her annual report for last year, published today, TPO reveals that the total amount was £1.2m, up 51% from the previous year. The highest award was almost £22,000. During 2016, a total […]

New ‘awards’ scheme for agents dishes out free badges for ‘top 1,000 firms’

The ‘top’ 1,000 estate agents in England and Wales are to be given free badges by the HomeOwners Alliance. The 1,000 were emailed yesterday, chosen from 18,000, on the basis of information from estate agent comparison service Estateagent4me, a part of the HomeOwners Alliance. The Alliance said that the top 1,000 could use the badge […]

Government calls on property managers of private residential blocks to act now on fire safety

Property managers of high rise private residential tower blocks are being urged by the Government to act now on fire safety. Melanie Dawes, permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government, yesterday issued a call for immediate action. She wants managing agents, owners and landlords of private blocks to check the cladding on […]

Industry reacts as Queen’s Speech reveals lettings fee ban beyond original proposals

Anyone hoping the fallout of the General Election or Brexit negotiations would push the lettings fee ban into the long grass was bitterly disappointed yesterday after it was included in the Queen’s Speech. A draft Tenants’ Fee Bill was among 27 proposed laws that MPs will be working on over the next parliamentary term, however […]

Did the General Election really stall the housing market? It depends how you read the latest HMRC stats

Home buyers may not have been adopting the “wait and see” approach that many commentators have been espousing, depending on how you look at the latest HMRC property transaction figures. The taxman’s data for May records a 7.9% increase in transactions between April and May on a non-seasonally adjusted basis to 10,410. The numbers are […]

NEWSFLASH: Lettings fee ban will let tenants recover unlawful charges

June 21, 2017

Legislation to ban tenant fees has been introduced in the Queen’s Speech, and goes further by allowing tenants to recover fees that have been unlawfully charged. Tenants will be allowed to recover them as part of new legislation containing the ban on lettings fee charged to tenants. The Queen’s Speech this morning outlined a Draft […]

Agents unite to find survivors accommodation in aftermath of Grenfell Tower tragedy

Agents are pulling together as they unite urgently to find accommodation to rehouse survivors of the Grenfell Tower catastrophe. Daniels, which has five offices in London, said that the imperative and co-ordination now seem to be coming from central government. Operations manager Brendan Ryan said: “The day after the blaze, we contacted Kensington & Chelsea […]

Why my new agency will NOT be charging tenants any letting fees

Election, referendum, election; Stamp Duty reform, tax reform and the rise of the online agent – one could be forgiven for believing that the golden age of agency has been and gone. I’ve been in the industry ten years, so perhaps it passed before I even started, but I also firmly believe that we are […]

Annual home sales tumble to well below 900,000 with London sales drying up by almost half in a decade

Property sales across England and Wales have fallen by over a third compared with transaction numbers at the end of the housing boom in 2006. Last year, sales were well below the 1m mark, at 848,857. The latest Land Registry figure is 7% lower than in 2015, and 34% lower than in 2006. A new […]

Picture of the Week: And we’re just admiring the price changes

Picture of the Week – and it must be summer sale time, when seasoned bargain hunters know that if you only wait another day or two, the price will come yet again. This pretty bungalow in Blyth, Northumberland, went on the market with Tepilo on June 7 at £190,000. Five days later it went down […]

After ‘commisery’ comes ‘feegret’ – well, according to one agent

An agent has produced a video aimed at vendors thinking of using an online firm. Spencer Fortag, of Landmark Estates in London, has coined the word ‘feegret’ to tell them how they might feel. Question is, will he trademark the term? Last week, a consortium of agents in the west country, Experts in Property, produced […]

‘We may die before launch’ admits CIELA as it bids to rally support among agents for new trade body

June 20, 2017

CIELA, the Charter for Independent Estate and Lettings Agents which aims to represent the collective interests of independent agents, said yesterday afternoon that it is not currently receiving enough support to have any realistic chance of launching on October 1. The admission came as it emerged that voting turnout by the NFoPP bodies at Friday’s […]

eMoov boss hopes to be on Stock Exchange and have 5% share of entire estate agency market within five years

Russell Quirk, founder of eMoov, says he would like his company to be listed on the Stock Exchange in five years’ time and have a 5% share of the entire estate agency market. Quirk also seems to be disenchanted with the need for fundraising. Asked in a revealing interview what has been his biggest challenge, […]

Industry consultant launches own estate agency – and now she will spill the beans

As the saying goes, those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach. Except that long-standing industry trainer and marketing specialist Sam Ashdown has turned it on its head – by opening her own estate agency. AshdownJones, in the Lake District, opened in April. By Ashdown’s own account: “It has been very interesting, mainly because […]

Appointment of new housing minister is ‘crass’, says industry veteran Harry Hill

Industry veteran Harry Hill has taken to Twitter to describe the new housing minister’s appointment as ‘crass’. Hill, who founded Countrywide and Rightmove and is currently a non-executive director of Hunters, said on Twitter of little-known Alok Sharma’s appointment: “Very sad to see that the new minister for housing appears to have absolutely no suitable […]

New property repairs online platform looking for agents to take part in free trial

A new business offering letting agents a way of managing property maintenance and repairs is offering a free trial ahead of its formal launch. Software firm Sorbet is the brainchild of former contractor Brooke Williams, who believed there had to be a better way for agents, landlords, tenants and contractors to communicate with each other. […]

New asking prices decline for first time this year, says Rightmove

June 19, 2017

Average asking prices fell for the first time this year with confidence hit by rising inflation and political uncertainty, Rightmove said this morning. It said that prices of property coming to market declined by 0.4% between May and June, the first time there has been a decline at this time of year since the height […]

Auction site for tenants gets set to launch ahead of US competitor’s arrival in UK

An auction site for the UK lettings industry is launching this month, ahead of an expected launch by a US competitor. LetsBid4Lets will launch to agents at an event at the Shard in London on Thursday, June 29 – despite the fact that it is still fund-raising. LetsBid4Lets claims to offer the first bidding software […]

Controversial proposals get through at NFoPP AGM – but voting turnout said to be low

Controversial motions to reduce the size of the board of NFoPP and not allow the NAEA and ARLA Presidents to vote or speak at board meetings unless invited, were passed at Friday’s AGM. Reportedly, a remark made from the floor was that “the membership had voted itself out of existence as a membership organisation”. Attendees […]

Agents called on to pressurise industry bodies into forcing online firms to display wealth warnings

Midlands agent David Brevitt is calling for other agents to put pressure on industry bodies including Propertymark NAEA to insist that online firms display a ‘wealth’ warning to consumers. Brevitt said that high street firms have to display warnings to sellers that they may end up having to pay two sets of commission if they […]

If the new breed of buying agents takes off, what would this mean for portal prices?

Buying agents have traditionally been niche in the UK – to serve only those wealthy enough to pay for them out of their own pocket. In the US, the seller is mandated to pay for the buyer’s agent, as the ‘conveyance’ is done by licensed real estate agents on both sides. It would be a […]

Rightmove pulls new TV advertising campaign after Grenfell Tower disaster

June 16, 2017

A new TV campaign by Rightmove has been abandoned after the Grenfell Tower catastrophe. The advert, launched on Monday and aimed at renters, ran during Tuesday night’s ‘One Born Every Minute’ just a few hours before the disaster unfolded. It prominently featured an image of a high rise tower block. Last night, a Rightmove spokesperson […]

Website featuring agent listings launches free tenant-find service to landlords

A service which features listings by agents as well as for-sale by owners and private landlords is to offer a free tenant-find service to members of the National Landlords Association. TheHouseShop said that the new partnership would benefit the NLA’s 70,000 members and associates and save landlords money. It added that the NLA has already […]

Agent calls in police after tenant who passed referencing checks was found to be bogus

Agents are being urged to be on their guard as sub-letting scams appear to be on the rise, with prospective tenants producing bogus documents and managing to pass checks by referencing companies. One central London agent has called in police after a prospective tenant passed by a referencing company was subsequently found to have produced […]

Belvoir boss calls on prime minister to appoint housing tsar

Lettings chain Belvoir has released the contents of a letter that director Dorian Gonsalves has written to prime minister Theresa May. Gonsalves makes the point that new housing minister Alok Sharma is the sixth since 2010, and that housing ministers stay in post for only a year or so. He calls for the appointment of […]

Propertymark chiefs say there should be a ‘radical’ new Housing Bill in Queen’s Speech

Propertymark bosses have called for a new Housing Bill to be introduced in the Queen’s Speech. Mark Hayward, chief executive of the NAEA, and David Cox, chief executive of ARLA, said: “We would like to congratulate Alok Sharma on his appointment to minister of state for housing and planning. “We worked closely with the former […]

High street firms consortium launches ‘What, no commission?’ campaign – and criticises NAEA

June 15, 2017

A network of high street firms has launched a ‘What, no commission?’ campaign aimed at consumers thinking of using an online – or ‘call centre’ – agent. The Experts in Property – formerly part of Team – has almost 80 offices in the south-west. It said it had created the campaign “in response to a […]

Misery! New spoof video shows someone screaming into the drinks cabinet

A high street estate agent has warned that online agents will ultimately lose vendors money “because they can’t negotiate on your behalf”. In a personal opinion piece on CityA.M., James Robinson, general manager of London firm Lurot Brand, said that purchasers wanting to buy a house cheaply could turn to online agents. They would then […]

Tenants actively reviewing letting agents across Britain on new website with plans for monetisation

Tenants are actively reviewing and rating local letting agents across Britain on a new website. Marks out of Tenancy was launched in March by Bristol-based entrepreneurs Ben Yarrow and Tom Dickinson. Renters can score agents, landlords and properties out of ten, and leave reviews. Tenants can review agents overall, and also evaluate them on six […]

We have a national housing crisis, so why isn’t the housing minister job a Cabinet position?

I have learned a lot from the General Election, like don’t place bets. My daughter Georgina was utterly stunned to learn that the Cabinet excludes the housing minister yet sport and media both feature under the ‘culture’ umbrella. She described it as ‘bare peak’ which for those of you whose first language is English means […]

Dismay at revolving door of housing ministers, where average tenure is just 14 months

Concern has been expressed at the rapid turnover of housing ministers, whether all of them are up to the job, and whether they wield any real power. Britain is now on its 15th housing minister in 20 years. The job changes hands on average every 14 months, meaning that the next housing minister could be […]

NEWSFLASH: Purplebricks to launch its American dream in California

June 14, 2017

Purplebricks has announced that it will launch in California this year. It told the London Stock Exchange this morning that it is targeting California for its US launch because of the State’s “strong housing and economic fundamentals”. California is number one in transactions across America with total sales commissions exceeding $11.5bn. Purplebricks said that as […]

New housing minister is finally named as Alok Sharma

The new housing minister has now been named, five days after the result of the General Election. He will not have a place in Cabinet, and his name may not be known to you. He is Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, whose interest in housing seems so far not to have been shared publicly […]

It wasn’t like that: Ex-resident complains to advertising watchdog about agent’s listing

An estate agent has had a complaint upheld against it over the way it described a property. The complainant was a previous resident and challenged four claims made about the property by Liverpool agent Ashbury Residential. The Rightmove listing for the one-bedroom apartment gave as its key features “integrated audio system” and “gated access & […]

Ex-Countrywide director’s new venture swoops on second agency acquisition

The purchaser of Badger Holdings – which operates the Townends and Regents brands – has made a second acquisition and made it clear it wants plenty more. Nick Dunning Associates has bought Adams Property, a letting-only business in Ealing, west London, which adds more than 700 managed units to Badger’s portfolio. Badger Holdings, which consists […]

Another local independent goes live with online offering to vendors

Another local agent has launched an online offering. MoveSmart has been launched by Kent agent WH Breading on the firm’s website. It charges vendors from £750 plus VAT. It is not a bought-in package but the agent’s own idea. Unusually, it simply invites would-be vendors to register their details. The branch team picks up the […]

Online offering launched by high street agent under same brand ‘proving a big hit’

June 13, 2017

An agent who has created an online product says that launching it under the existing high street brand is proving very successful. Tobias Morrish said: “We have created a new product, but not a different brand or website for Sell it Yourself. “We do have a traditional estate agency offering, but we make no attempt […]

Agent calls on portals to display ‘wealth warnings’ for customers paying upfront to online firms

A high street agent is calling on Rightmove and Zoopla to ensure that customers of online firms are prominently warned in listings that “your agency fee may be at risk if you do not sell your property”. David Brevitt, of midlands high street firm My Personal Estate Agent, said online agents should also include the […]

Almost a quarter of all households to be in private rental accommodation within five years

The proportion of households living in the UK’s private rented sector will rise to 24% by 2021, according to new research by Knight Frank. The latest English Housing Survey – covering England only – puts the proportion at 20% in 2015/2016, or 4.5m households. Knight Frank believes that across the UK, there will be 5.79m […]

Property Franchise Group bosses to receive 1.5m new shares in company if targets are hit

The Property Franchise Group – parent company to brands including Martin & Co and EweMove – has announced the grant of new ordinary shares in the company to CEO Ian Wilson and chief financial officer David Raggett. The awards, of 1m shares to Wilson and 500,000 to Raggett, will be subject to the growth in […]

Rightmove to close offices for two days this month during staff conference

Rightmove is closing its offices for two days this month, on June 22 and June 23, for a staff conference. The offices will reopen on June 26. A spokesperson told EYE: “This is a two-day conference we have been holding every two years. “We’ve contacted our customers to give them advance notice of it and […]

How will Guild agents feel on being told their organisation will help them earn less?

June 12, 2017

Back in 2015, newspapers covered the story of easyProperty’s launch with headlines claiming the company would ‘wipe out’ high street estate agents. Now, with easyProperty’s merger with the Guild of Property Professionals and Fine & Country, it seems their investors have finally decided to pull the plug on founder Rob Ellice’s failed strategy. I thought […]

Unrest as Propertymark agents mull agenda at this week’s AGM

With just days to go until the NFoPP AGM this Friday, disquiet among members appears to be growing. EYE has heard a number of concerns: These include: The blocking of Chris Wood’s application to stand as vice-president of Propertymark NAEA. The proposal to cut the size of the NFoPP board which critics say will reduce […]

Barwell becomes chief of staff at Downing Street while new housing minister will be 15th in 20 years

Amid an uncertain political landscape, the only certainty appears to be that we will have a new housing minister. The person appointed will be the 15th since 1997, after the latest incumbent, Gavin Barwell, lost his seat in Thursday’s General Election. Barwell has however been announced as new chief of staff at Number 10. His […]

What can agents learn from the worst electoral campaign in history? Plenty!

What can agents learn from what was almost certainly the worst electoral campaign in memory? It was certainly a case of how not to sell yourself – and I am writing this as a younger, thirty-something estate agent. How about: Communication Knowing your client Not being arrogant Control your controllables Negativity never sells Standing by […]