A controversial scheme in a London borough, limiting the size and duration of letting and estate agents’ boards on display, comes into effect tomorrow - with other local authorities expected to follow suit in the future.
Estate Agent Today has already reported on some of the build-up to the new system being implemented this week by Southwark council in south London, which says that it last year received 16 separate complaints about boards being left up much longer than needed.
Separately, a trading standards survey in 2013/14 concluded that up to a quarter of boards around the borough were actually unauthorised.
Now a statement from the council says: “Estate agents who cause clutter by leaving advertising boards out too long are being warned they now face fines of up to £100.
The council has made the decision to implement legal powers that allow it to issue fixed penalty notices for boards that advertise properties for sale or let that aren’t removed within two weeks of the sale or let being completed.”
The councillor responsible for the move, Mark Williams, says the signs look untidy and give a sense of transience, which can be unsettling and create the wrong impression of a community.
“In the past we have responded to individual complaints through our enforcement process, but this can be time consuming and expensive. Implementing this new procedure means any signs left out for too long risk an immediate fine, which we hope will make estate agents think twice before just leaving unnecessary signs up at properties they have sold or let” says Williams.
From tomorrow, if a sign is found to breach the policy the estate agents will be given a warning and fixed time to remove it. If they do not, or the sign is not connected to a property being sold or let then they are classed as unauthorised and a fixed penalty notice will be issued.