A prominent Conservative activist is calling for a strict clampdown on estate agents’ boards which she describes as “a form of litter.”
Judy Terry, a former borough and county councillor for 10 years including four years as a local authority cabinet member for economic development, has put forward her proposals on the Conservative Home website.
Terry says the law as it currently stands gives specific size limits on agents’ boards and has a deadline on those boards on residential properties that are not new developments to be removed not later than 14 days after the completion of the sale or letting.
“Yet how often do we drive or walk past properties displaying boards for months, if not years, especially outside blocks of flats where agents use the excuse that there is always one property for sale or to let? If that is accurate, then they should have a single flagboard with To Let on one side, and For Sale on the other” says Terry, who makes a claim that in her area of Suffolk one agency has six boards permanently fixed outside a block of apartments while in reality no property there is for sale or to let.
“Estate agents’ boards are a form of litter and it’s about time the regulations were enforced ... A cull is needed” she writes.
Terry then suggests a new policy to be enforced by local authorities:
- For Sale and To Let boards should carry the date of transaction;
- Agents to be fined and boards removed if the 14-day limit expires and they are still displayed (although Terry says “in practice a two-day window may be appropriate”);
- Extend the remit of councils’ parking services departments’ remit to include monitoring boards, since attendants are already driving/walking the streets to check on illegal parking, so costs would be minimised;
- Launch a pilot scheme in one area to iron out initial problems “allowing agents a little flexibility as they plead ‘ignorance’ before fining for repeat offences, per board, after one month”;
- Then roll out the scheme after three months.
Terry says appeals would be dealt with by the parking services divisions of councils, as is now the case with appeals against parking fines.