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No appetite amongst agents for charging for viewings - Propertymark

NAEA Propertymark says there’s no appetite that it can see amongst its representatives across the UK for charging people £30 for viewing a property.

The idea came just over a week ago from an organisation called ViewRabbit, set up by an ex-Savills estate agent. So-called guaranteed viewings would be set up through the ViewRabbit platform rather than directly with an agent, in return for a fee.

The proposal has received a cool response from across the industry, with polls of agents on both this website and LinkedIn suggesting a substantial majority - 80 per cent or more - against the principle.

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Now on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours consumer programme the policy adviser at Propertymark, Mark Hayward, said: “Agents want to encourage viewings and to facilitate viewings but we’ve done a straw poll of our regional executives who are placed throughout the UK and there really doesn’t seem to be an appetite for this.

“There are various ways you can organise viewings, whether it’s online or by a personal conversation but there are issues like managing expectations, security considerations about who am I letting into a property, when and why. Agents want to have a dialogue about this - they want to have a rapport [with the vendor].”

Hayward said virtual viewings had become much more commonplace, allowing prospective buyers or tenants to make an informed decision about whether they wanted to physically attend a property.

The Radio 4 programme also looked at whether the concept of charging a prospective tenant to view a lettings property contravened the Tenant Fees Act.

Hayward told listeners: “You cannot charge a prospective tenant any fee in advance - that’s going to be an issue and that’s widely policed.” He added that letting agents in that position have to abide by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

ViewRabbit founder Michael Riley, also on the programme, said: “You can’t choose the process you’re going through when you view a property. The standard viewing at the moment kind of restricts the times when you can view and you have a kind of game of telephone tennis with the estate agent when you can book the viewing.”

He continued: “You have very little control over the duration of that appointment and the worst thing is, if you do get that slot for a booking it can be cancelled at any time.”

He claimed that ViewRabbit was working with agents currently - although the service has declined to tell Estate Agent Today how many agents have signed up, or what companies they represent.

You can hear the discussion here - the segment begins about 14.5 minutes into the show.

  • Mike Riley

    Massive thanks to the BBC for the discussion about ViewRabbit and we would love to hear what agents think after listening to the programme.

    Link supplied by EAT above.

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    Mike I am sorry to say but I think you are flogging a dead horse....literally

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    Not something I’d consider.

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    • N W
    • 02 August 2021 09:41 AM

    sorry Mike but wouldn't go near that sort of product at all

    Mike Riley

    Do you mean last week's product offering??? The only thing that is fixed with us at this point, is the problem we are solving. :) Improving the experience for home viewers. We will adapt and adapt until that is meaningfully solved including it being easy to communicate to consumers and agents.

    The Estate Agent Podcast is worth a watch and we would love to have a zoom call to hear your concerns around possible solutions.

     
  • Algarve  Investor

    This seems a bit like GB News or the government's exams debacle last year - a bad idea that everyone can see is a bad idea apart from the people who have come up with it.

    I have to agree with the above commenter that a dead horse is being flogged. All the polls and comments I have seen suggest agents are firmly against it, bar a few exceptions.

    It would help if ViewRabbit could release details of the agents they have on board - I reckon that would keep some of the criticism at bay.

  • Simon Bradbury

    Hi Mike, You have asked to hear about any concerns. Can you please answer the following question which I did not hear an answer to in the interview.
    In view of the tenants fee ban legislation is it not illegal to charge prospective tenants for a viewing?
    ( Please note that I am not asking if it is desirable or a good idea - simply is it legal? )

    Mike Riley

    Hi Simon

    It's a good question. Clearly, we are not going to do something that is illegal.

    By all means get in touch if you would like to discuss.

     
  • Simon Bradbury

    Mike?

    Simon Bradbury

    Hi Again Mike,
    Whilst I genuinely applaud anything that is innovate in this arena - I simply can't understand why you can't publicly answer my question...
    In view of the tenants fee ban legislation is it not illegal to charge prospective tenants for a viewing?
    ( Please note that I am not asking if it is desirable or a good idea - simply is it legal? )

     
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    I think the silence is deafening.....

     
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