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Graham Awards


Allegation of agency staff at ‘drugs party’ in branch

The Mail Online website alleges that an after-hours party at an estate agency office involved staff apparently inhaling drugs from balloons.

The website says this was “clearly visible to passers-by.”

The Mail Online says: “The extraordinary scenes took place at the offices of the Kinleigh, Folkard and Hayward estate agency in West Hampstead, North London, after the office had closed for business on Friday night last week. The partying group was made up of smartly dressed professionals who are understood to have included staff members from KFH.”


The news website goes on to say that staff at the branch had been taking part in an online awards event during the afternoon and staged the party after the office closed - but easily within sight of the public outside.

A video, apparently portraying the drug use, was posted on the TikTok social media site. 

A statement from the agency quoted on the news website says: “On Friday 11 February we closed our offices at 4pm and hosted our annual awards virtually. We are aware of the video circulating on social media and are in the process of investigating why several members of staff remained in one of our offices into the evening. Due to the investigation being ongoing, we are not able to comment further at this time.”

You can see the full story here.

Estate Agent Today has asked KFH's press office if the agency has any additional comment. 

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    Balloon gas? Helium. Makes your voice go squeaky. Spent my childhood at parties doing that. ‘If it’s Nitrous Oxide - bit of a silly gas to be inhaling. But this is hardly a wild coke snorting session!!


    'Drugs Party' hahaha.

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    Seriously? Hardly the crime of the century is it? Talk about OTT!!
    Shame on you for even entertaining this as one of your articles, never mind a 'Breaking News' article.
    "Do not have fun anymore - someone might see".

    Algarve  Investor

    It doesn't look great, though, does it? Especially as the agency in question will no doubt regularly talk about professionalism in all its marketing material.

    Plus agency already has an image problem, and this sort of stuff just reinforces those negative stereotypes.

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    It’s bad enough that the DM have invented a story based on no evidence, but then thats their game…

    That our own trade press would repeat it is very disappointing.

    Algarve  Investor

    It's pretty inevitable that a story involving such a high-profile agency is going to make the trade news, too, I would have thought?

    I'm no fan of the Mail, but not sure why you think they've invented the story on the basis of no evidence - what evidence do you have for that?


    Algarve Investor… are you kidding!?!
    There is ZERO evidence that they’re inhaling “hippy crack” it’s complete guess work! In fact if it wasn’t for use of the word “apparently” it would be libellous!
    A story written on the back of a TikTok video just to have a dig at estate agents, should not be repeated by the trade press. Especially without any additional reporting!

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    Scraping the barrel, 2020s trade press 'journalism' right there.

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    Cleary the mail haven't been to a #10 PARTY then.

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    Perhaps they should start a campaign to stop selling these 'drugs' to children. Maybe Algarve Investor could kickstart the campaign?
    Maybe it doesn't look 100% professional, but who really cares? The only kind of people who would be bothered by something like this are the extreme minority of narrow minded, do-gooder pen pushers!
    People need to get out more!!!

  • Glenn Taylor

    Nothing to see here, move on

  • Lenny White

    Not quite the Wolf of Wall Street, more like the Hamsters of Hampstead!!

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    The staff should have been high enough, anyway, having enjoyed another week of harassing Conveyancers, and collecting the soon-to-be banned, dubiously ‘earned’ “Referral Fees”.

    And that some of you in this thread can defend the drug users exemplifies perfectly just why Estate Agents etc must be forced, by Legislation, to become REGULATED.


    As a “lawyer” I’m surprised you have written the above post and not protected yourself with the use of the word “alleged”.
    There is currently no evidence to suggest they’re doing any form of drugs, it is pure speculation.

    Also I’d be curious to understand which bit of “regulation” you think would prevent people in a public forum having a different opinion to you, which is essentially what you’re complaining about.

    • N W
    • 18 February 2022 10:35 AM

    me thinks you may be a Lawyer with a huge chip on your shoulder.......

    Regulation may be necessary (not sure I have ever not felt that) but even if we were regulated it wouldn't stop someone having a party in their office (or drugs but we actually don't know how valid that really is at present) and of course regulation has worked so well for the legal profession......... we still get lied to almost every other day by lawyers who haven't done their job properly or have implied they have done more than they actually have to cover themselves.

    Its actually become a bit of a sport our end, funnelling the offending lawyer into a spot where they actually have to come clean with us and their client that they haven't actually done what they say they have...... Had a few lawyers swear and put the phone down when the penny drops that we have them cornered and that the game is up (solicitor normally fired by the client the next morning)

    Of course there are some truly wonderful lawyers out there and we are delighted when they are acting for clients, but the number is not huge

    Yep regulation has gone so well for the legal profession......

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    I think we all need something working in this job!

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    Well, thanks N W , for confirming my hunch that at least one EA employee would spout the claptrap which you have.

    You have not been “lied to” by lawyers. You’ve simply been told what we are prepared to tell you. You mistakenly believe that you have any role whatsoever in the legal Conveyancing process. You do not. It’s a process in which you don’t understand the constraints and obligations which fall upon the highly regulated lawyer.

    The lawyer wouldn’t be able to laugh off, as do so many in this thread, the ignominy of being pictured inhaling Nitrous Oxide - the effects of which are, in fact, no laughing matter.

    We know that your referral fees are very often gained via your fibbing to a client that they should use your own “recommended” solicitor…i.e. the one that pays you a few hundred quid.

    The point I make is that Regulation will impose an obligation on you to set out clearly to the buyer/seller the size of the ££££ bung which you are receiving.

    And finally if you are correct that there are many poor conveyancer, then this is because of the growth of conveyancing ‘factories’ ….who conspire with Agents in the referral fee racket whilst delivering their poor service from geographically remote sites.

    The best conveyancers, and the best Estate Agents, will each be found on the High Street.

    I suspect that you are not one of them.

    • N W
    • 21 February 2022 09:46 AM

    Thanks for the reply.......

    I guess one persons claptrap is another persons reality (but you do you)

    I'm also guessing you are thinking that I am wet behind the ears, don't have much experience, haven't got much involved with conveyancing (and its wild and wonderful mystic arts.....) and that I probably only push work to conveyancing panels for money and don't consider what is best for our clients every time.....

    OK then...... having sold property for almost 40 years I think I understand the conveyancing process pretty much by now. It isn't complicated but a good system and structure in place certainly helps. Though to be fair if I went into the law it wouldn't be my first, second or even third choice, its a pretty dull and soul destroying job these days I guess and anyone who does it then good luck to them.

    I'm also wily enough by now to know the difference between a solicitor avoiding a question because they don't want to tell me (I do teach my staff on how to look for the easy tell tale signs). Good questioning generally quite quickly gives you an idea. You know, when a solicitor says that a Local Search Enquiry is being dealt with (which quite often means its not actually left their desk or even been looked at) so never letting that hang there and asking when it was applied for, what date are they anticipating it back etc etc then chasing on the dates given.

    We also find that following up a conversation with a solicitor with an email for the record (and if we really do suspect they are not telling us or the client the truth then copying the client in) usually concentrates the mind.

    You also sort of imply that solicitors don't lie and that they only tell us what they want to tell us....... having been lied to by solicitors more times than I care to remember your statement is clearly an uneducated version of actual reality. I accept that using the term lie is quite harsh (many solicitors are very very good and its not fair to tarnish a whole industry) but i can categorically prove that many do lie. As a result many solicitors have subsequently been fired by their clients after we have given them the evidence (trust me i would never have called out the clients solicitors to that extent unless we had absolute proof as i don't want to get sued - I'm not that stupid)

    I even had one case recently where the solicitor told his client (Trustees) that I was marketing the property and that I had an offer.......... I haven't actually even been instructed yet. I actually cant think of why the solicitor would even make such a statement as there is no benefit to anyone that I can see... However, clients have the information and I have advised them how to reel him in so that he has nowhere to go once they corner him on it (in hand at present).

    The list is actually almost endless.

    You also seem to be of the view that I send lots of work to conveyancing sheds and don't declare fees........ Personally i try and avoid conveyancing sheds like the plague. I prefer to deal with traditional legal firms wherever possible. However, do i sometimes refer to a solicitor that pays a referral fee, yes sometimes but its pretty rare (probably less than 3/5% of my transactions) as my sole preference is actually to pass a client to the best solicitor that i think will look after them and understands their property (no point passing a property sale with 20/50 acres to someone that cant handle it or understand the different complexities with larger country homes etc, rights, fishing, sporting, ag ties, existing overages etc etc. Oh and yes, if we are liable to a fee its made clear to our clients even before they instruct us to sell their home that a fee may be paid and what it is as per the exact guidance of the Ombudsman and our code of practice..

    I work in a part of the industry where all of my clients pretty much know me, some homes i have sold 4/5/6 times in almost forty years for consecutive home owners. Most of my clients know where i live and see me 7 days a week. When you are that close to your customers, you have to do everything by the book (which would be true wherever I worked). I want a customer for life, not just for one sale and a fast buck.

    Of course there are good and bad in all professions and the legal and property profession are not exempt from this. Its interesting though that I have been lied to with great regularity by the legal professions and far less by the property profession……. One is regulated and one is not….. Regulation doesn’t seem to have made a difference to the legal profession at all. I do however hope that in the fullness of time that the Property Industry is regulated. I had wanted that when I first started in agency at the age of 17 and still have hope that it may be done before I retire.

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    NW - I simply do not accept that you have been “lied to” with the regularity you suggest. I believe the reality to be that you have received careful responses which observe the principles of professional confidentiality, and which recognise that there can at that moment be no speculation as to what you really want to hear, I.E. the completion date.

    A policy we have, if we discover that emails are being ‘tactically’ cc’d, is to IMMEDIATELY warn clients and agents that our emails are NOT to be cc’d to ANY other parties in the matter. If emails containing advice are cc’d inappropriately (by a client or agent or even by another conveyancer) then it’s a clear breach of confidentiality and we will instantly cease the use of email in such cases. We’ll tell the party why and we’ll tell our client why.

    You boast, above, of being able to ‘corner’ a conveyancer with questions; well, I say that you have no standing to demand any answer whatsoever. Why on earth is a conveyancer answering your prying questions in the first place? You are not part of the conveyancing process. You are helpful in the commencement and the completion of the process, but you help is rarely needed in between.

    We are not going to be interrogated by an agent who may then selectively quote our responses to others in the chain. You have no right to judge whether or not we have submitted search orders in what you regard as an acceptable timeframe. We have a duty to our own clients and we will be instructed by them and be answerable to them, and that’s it.

    You spoke in your initial post of the ‘sport’ you enjoy in dealing with conveyancers. It’s that type of attitude which leads conveyancers to want to keep agents very much at arm’s length. We are regulated and you are not; you are not bound to the level of professional behaviour as are lawyers.

    Which brings me back to my prime wish which is to see Estate Agents regulated and subject to professional rules which can lead to them being ‘struck off’ and the directors, and hopefully managers too, fined heavily.

    Only then will the practices I’ve complained of be curtailed.

    • N W
    • 23 February 2022 09:50 AM

    do the job properly then and we wont have to chase...…

    The fact that you don't think conveyancers can lie shows how limited your understanding really is of the actual world around you.

    I remember one solicitor blatantly lying to both myself and the client...… We had a conference call between us, the solicitor and the client...… the solicitor was pushed into a corner where they could no longer deny that that they hadn't lied and after a long pause..... he said "Oh F... Off!" and put the phone down (I looked at my client and they said "ok you were right" and fired him immediately...……

    As I have said before, there is good and bad in every profession but please don't keep sticking your head in the sand and stating "it never happens, solicitors are regulated so they would never do such a thing....". as it is blatantly incorrect.


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