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Written by rosalind renshaw

A very quiet yet potentially explosive consultation to amend the Estate Agents Act 1979 has been under way and ends this Friday. If it goes through, as seems likely, it would actively encourage consumers to bypass traditional agents completely.

The proposal, by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, is that businesses such as online sites that act simply as 'passive intermediaries offering a limited, low-risk service' to buyers and sellers should be outside the scope of the Act.

Passive businesses are defined as those that for example, allow for exchange of information about properties for sale between sellers and prospective buyers and provide a means for them to communicate with one another.

But the proposal has sent alarm bells ringing among the very few people who knew about the consultation, which was never apparently notified to any of the trade press, and certainly not to EAT, despite much having been made of the Government's red tape challenge.

If it goes through, then a model for non-traditional agents able to operate outside the scope of legislation would, say the critics, put thousands of industry jobs in danger and, more importantly, also put consumers at risk.

It would also open the door for supermarkets such as Tesco to enter the fray, as it did before with a £199 cut-price model that was at that time judged to have to comply with the Estate Agents Act.

Indeed, the stated intention of the proposal is to open up the estate agency market to new business models.

Interested bodies and individuals are being asked to submit their views but have only until Friday this week to do it.

Among the questions being asked is whether there would be any beneficial or detrimental effects on consumers, and whether there could be any unintended consequences. This is obviously a vital issue for the whole industry and we ask you to post your comments below.

Views can be emailed to: marcelle.janssis@bis.gsi.gov.uk

The consultation can be seen here link here


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    no. I like being (in your opinion) a wally

    • 10 August 2012 14:09 PM
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    Nuff said!!

    • 10 August 2012 10:49 AM
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    Proper Agents will alllllways be needed. Cast iron fact in my opinion

    The only change will be that it's likely we'll have to more competitive when it comes to fees

    We'll survive

    • 10 August 2012 08:26 AM
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    FBA you just cann't help yourself, can you ?

    • 09 August 2012 21:38 PM
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    I knew this would happen when I wa up that tree

    • 09 August 2012 16:21 PM
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    Fill your pants and run for the hills !

    • 09 August 2012 16:12 PM
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    What rubbish and fear mongering those that want accompanied viewings and a buffer will instruct an agent that accompanies potential buyers.

    • 09 August 2012 14:54 PM
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    Good agents value the well-being of their customers and create a buffer to bad viewers and put in place systems to qualify applicants such as accompanying viewings to safeguard consumers.

    If the current proposal to change the 1979 Estate Agents Act goes to parliament after tomorrow (Friday 10th August) with the recommendation from BIS (The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills), then the housing market opens the door to put anyone in touch with innocent sellers .

    Agents TODAY provide a true personal service including accompanied viewings. To make a system where bogus callers could pose as buyers BIS would be opening thugs and criminals through the door of innocent elderly and vulnerable home sellers

    Beyond cash saving, such new web models compromise Joe Publics well being.

    • 09 August 2012 14:19 PM
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    Give it another 5 years and they'll hardly be any estate agents left in the high street. Be honest.....what's the walkin trade like now compared to 10 years ago? Lettings enquiries, yes a few and they'll always be the oldies who don't use the internet but most agents could combine all they're offices in a given area into one big office on an industrial park, cut down on staff and overheads and probably make bigger profits.

    Gone are the days of just having a call book, an applicant box and a phone on your desk. Wake up and smell the coffee all you dinosaurs out there. If you're honest with yourselves it is OUR business model that's wrong and living in the past.

    • 09 August 2012 14:13 PM
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    FBA - You took this topic and others off track....you are the troll. You are the wanna be bully (a poor one as i find your personal attacks pathetic). Please note you are as anonymous as I am on here. So get the posts back on track and discuss either the proposals contents or a co-ordinated response to it as suggested by not a good look and me.

    • 09 August 2012 13:42 PM
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    Hey Big Ted, you couldn't be more wrong about me, but you can have your opinion also, no skin off my nose.

    May I suggest though, you Big Ted, swap email addresses with Happy Chappy and communicate directly with each other.

    As you can see, his objective has been achieved, light the blue touch paper and stand back. The topic is off track, which is so very sad as it is so highly important too. This 'Happy Chappy' fellow will be looking back here every 15 mins or so to see the 'effect' caused and be very proud of himself, chuckling away and appreciative of your support Big Ted.

    Shame really.

    If anything is shown by this stupidity, it is the dangers posed by the 'Internet' and the anonymity it provides.

    Internet models for Estate Agency, and with less regulation? That could lead to a mass of 14 year old bedroom warriors as well as the big 4 supermarkets all entering the industry together.

    • 09 August 2012 13:15 PM
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    @ Wardy, no it is not. FBA's opinion is that HC should not have an opinion if it differs from his.

    Name calling and childish bullying, highly unprofessional and weak.

    FBA encouraging others not to respond to posts by HC when FBA is the most prolific responder to his posts. Bullying, do as I say, not as I do.

    • 09 August 2012 12:34 PM
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    To outsiders looking in we must seem so dysfunctional. We talk collectively about 'our' industry but then defend it individually. The usual suspects acting like prison inmates fighting over toothpaste....

    Stop wearing your passion and dedication like jail house tattoos. Reasoned argument will always get my respect, it just might get others too.

    • 09 August 2012 12:18 PM
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    By all means protest or write to request an extension to the deadline, to proect your busineses.... if you really believe your business is under threat from these new proposals.

    However for your complaint to be effective you have to be able to exaplin why it is harmful for your business model and more importantly to consumers in this instance vendos and buyers.

    If this was clearly stated here perhpas by Senior member of one of your trade associations then...your complaints would be more coodinated and therefore more effective.

    You know what....why should i give stuff about it FBA is right im not an EA.......Keep calm and PANIC! last from me on the subject.

    • 09 August 2012 12:09 PM
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    The way we see it is that every agent opposed to this back door entry to a highly regulated industry (for existing estate agents) should make the thoughts known and spread the word very quickly. We agree 100% with Trevor Mealham, FBA and many other posters. It is glaringly obvious that they are trying to sneak this in via the back door, beacuse if they really wanted the opinions of genuine estate agents, why have we only heard of this via EAT??? We agree, why waste time with HC, and urge all concerned to do something positive. Does anyone want to protest?

    • 09 August 2012 11:47 AM
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    'HC is as entitled to his opinion as you are.'

    Is that not a bit of a contradiction?
    FBA's right. The guys a troll.

    • 09 August 2012 11:38 AM
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    No I am not an EA but anyone who buys or sells a house, surveyors, solicitors, builders, trademen, financial consultants etc have something to do with the property industry. You have no idea what i am and how many property related transcations i am involved in. I am trying to get to the point of the consultation and what it really means. Not senstationalism but off you go FBA you run off and throw your toys out of the pram screaming it will pu EA's out of business, but if you believe getting a property on portal and sticking a board up outside said property is being an EA then I wonder what you are doing in the business.

    You are the only one who claims i am troll, you have claimed i am many things, even your post stalker, i said before take your own advise and ignore me!.

    • 09 August 2012 11:36 AM
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    Change the record FBA you sound like the playground bully. Childish and anoying.

    HC is as entitled to his opinion as you are.

    • 09 August 2012 11:25 AM
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    Feeding this fool calling himself 'Happy Chappy' is very dangerous over such an important issue.

    He has nothing to do with the property industry whatsoever. All he is doing here is looking for (and getting) reactions. Be aware, you are feeding his passion for mischief.

    He is baiting. Some people may think he is being genuine, when actually all he doing is trying to get a reaction out of them. Borat is that gag, written big. 'I'm going to pretend to be one thing, in order to get you to respond in a particular way.'

    He enjoys it, it is hais passtime, his hobby, his sport.

    I think there is something more nefarious than a prank going on, however – since his remarks often do either skew, hold up or derail subjects, I urge you not to intereact with this 'troll'.

    We agents might work on our differences to make an argument that is more robust or far-reaching. 'Happy Chappy' sticking his oar in and distracting everybody by dragging them back to first principles is a good way to ensure that nothing constructive ever happens.

    Good at it, isn't he.

    Stop feeding trolls please.

    • 09 August 2012 10:52 AM
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    "If the proposal goes ahead and passes through government I guarantee you that it opens the door for supermarkets to sell private sellers homes outside the current Estate Agents Act."

    Do not sensationalise please clarify what you mean by this statement. From earlier you seem to saying they will be free to adverise a property for sale on a portal and put a board up in a garden saying For sale. Is that it? As I see that does not constute being an EA hey are indded passive intermediaries and should not fall under the EAA
    There would also not be a massive demand for this service a lot of people still require a real agent.

    If they negotiate, write the desciptions, take photos, attend viewings they are active and fall under the EAA supermarket or not.

    • 09 August 2012 08:49 AM
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    If the proposal goes ahead and passes through government I guarantee you that it opens the door for supermarkets to sell private sellers homes outside the current Estate Agents Act.

    We have had our legal team check this out. This is not an if or but - but a FACT.

    It would still leave agents under the EAA79 but exclude supermarkets from PMA from vendors who created errors on their details (Property Misdescription).

    Agents need to write before August 10th to the Department for Business Innovation & Skills. email - marcelle.janssis@bis.gsi.gov.uk

    • 08 August 2012 23:46 PM
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    Any new business model created will also be open to estate agents.

    • 08 August 2012 19:44 PM
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    Happy Chappy on 2012-08-08 16:02:33

    "However there is nothing here to suggest that supermarkets will be any less regulated than online or traditional agents or given an unfair advantage."

    From the PDF on the Gov website;

    "Government is committed to reducing the regulatory burdens on business in order to help economic growth."

    They're not reducing the burdens on the existing agents, they're reducing the burdens on those who want to enter the industry on 'alternative business models', effectively generating a sub-category of estate agents who benefit from lighter or no regulation.


    • 08 August 2012 19:09 PM
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    This ‘change’ will enable other retailers, supermarkets or not, to get a foot in the door of an additional business and cross sell. If successful - and that is the REAL issue, they may offer full EA services later.

    As for boards, I can see no reason why they could not sell an advertising board –specifically for that property for the owner to display – the same as selling a house number to be fitted to the wall/door? A large supermarket could provide its own website with an ‘advertised as an introduction only’ system. These would be private sales outside the EA act?

    Younger people coming through to buy/let property will want to do most things ‘on line’. The only answer that seems possible is for agents in a particular region to get together to offer a big ‘clout’ before it is too late and ditch the ‘cottage industry my name over the door’ mentality.

    • 08 August 2012 17:15 PM
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    Gumtree, Ebay and more already there for private 'Sale By Owners'.

    Whay a need to change laws?

    • 08 August 2012 16:39 PM
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    Trevor Mealham doesn't appear to know the difference between "waited" and "weighted".

    I've waited a long time for agents to come up with some bright ideas, and have been weighed down with their patronising blurb.

    • 08 August 2012 16:35 PM
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    Read it Dopey.

    It could have been written by the Spicerhaart/Tesco consortium that failed because they couldn't provide agency within current laws.. The reasons they failed are all covered and removed by this paper.

    This nasty piece of work says (between the lines) make it tougher on estate agents, get tough with estate agents, create more competition for estate agents (also conveyancers) but... let 'OTHER' people into the industry via a back door.

    Be soft on internet, be hard on high street. Why?
    As Trevor said, why not aply the CURRENT laws to all?

    It does not say who this would benefit, but we know who it will be, don't we?


    • 08 August 2012 16:35 PM
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    Happy Chappy, Rightmove, Gumtree, ebay etc all fall outside the EAA79 as they don't supply boards or do a few other agent-y things. But if they did supply a board then they fall under agent rules.

    Any web agent today who supplies a FS board and is not a TPOS or ombudsman member is breaking the law.

    Any web property marketeer who doesnt supply a board (or do a few other agent-y things) is outside the Act.

    The changes would mean that many agents would change their models to fit and leave redress schemes to: Put properties on the web, charge, supply a board, maybe charge for viewings etc, etc. That to me is an agent.

    • 08 August 2012 16:16 PM
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    As to the Gumtree example - Gumtree do not supply a For Sale board, thus currently they are outside the EAA79. If they did it is an action away from the web that could prompt an introduction an thus would make GT applicable to the EAA79.

    TESCO today could run their own portal and be outside the EAA79. The fact that supplying a board is today an act of an agent means that if private/FSBO vendors gave incorrect information, then redress falls on the agent. As today supplying a FS board is seen as agency then failure to check measurements etc would hit the agent.

    So as the main upgrade to the act leans heavy on web agents being able to have a board and be OUTSIDE the Act, then the value must be in a large local company seeing a route to gain mega local community advertising. Boards. ..........

    Good agents don't have a problem with PMA and the bulk of the EAA79. If a supermarket were to come in why should they not have exactly the same rules as agents?

    • 08 August 2012 16:10 PM
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    FBA -

    Yes gumtree does not fall under the EA act, does Rightmove? What is the difffence between gumtreee propertyfinder, rightmove and the local rag advertising proprties for sale.

    One of my famlies business thrived in direct competition to Tesco's 400 yards from the supermarket. I despise supermakets as much as you and i am probably better placed to alk about there moopoly han you as you have never been in competition with them . However there is nothing here to suggest that supermarkets will be any less regulated than on line or traditional agents or given an unfair advantage.

    • 08 August 2012 16:02 PM
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    Hi Kerry show me where he proposal states they will be able to pass on offers? This is an interpretation by the critics. How could this in any way be considered passive. If it does I agree it is a threat to all EA's but then it effectively scraps the EAA altogether.

    In any business environment that suprmarkets operate in from groceries to Financial services they operate under he same laws as the traditional businesses.

    • 08 August 2012 15:52 PM
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    OK, Dopey Chappy (oops, Happy Chappy).

    Passive businesses are defined as those that for example, allow for exchange of information about properties for sale between sellers and prospective buyers and provide a means for them to communicate with one another.

    Ever heard of Gumtree?

    Ever seen 'House for sale' listed in a little box in the local rag?

    Oh!... you have??

    Erm, ... Dopey.... why the need for a change in the law then? These routes to internet and advertising already exist..... What?? ....you don't know?? Or are you going to say access to Rightmove again??

    Let me explain.

    Laws have been written and rewritten in our great land for as long as history has been recorded. The main reason for changing any law is to allow activity that was previously prevented or to prevent activity that was previously allowed.

    Every time that happens, there will be those who benefit from said change and those who lose out. It is simple.

    Those people who who make or change our laws are doing so for, one would think, for good reason. So what is the reasoning here?

    Is it possibly because there may be some very powerful and wealthy people looking at estate agency. Might they be considering how they can conduct mass marketing into the property buying and selling audience. Are they thinking about their forays into the worlds of banking, insurance, solicitors services et-al. Is it possible they need a conduit to sell these services into? Is it because current legislation prevents them from gaining this audience?If so... it needs to be changed for them?

    Or is it to make you happy, Dopey Chappy?

    Your admittance that you are not an estate agent combined with your views speak volumes.

    Butchers..gone.... Fishmongers... gone. Green grocers.. gone. Hardware stores...gone. Record shops...gone, you name it... all gone. And for who? and for why? Was it to keep you Happy, Dopey Chappy? or was it another reason?

    Answer.. for the supermarkets, and for money.

    Not for you old bean.

    • 08 August 2012 15:46 PM
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    Happy chappy, you are missing the whole point of the proposal, passive interemdiaries will be able to act as a go between, able to pass on offers etc, i imagine they cannot advise or recommend on offers but can act as a go between, this is a major threat to existing agents i reckon, the main cruxt of being an agent is negotiating surely, the rest anyone can do, one of the reasons people use agents is because people don't like haggling, this proposal makes it easier, goverment wants to see different ways of selling, to quote ES today "the stated intention of the proposal is to open up the estate agency market to new business models.".

    • 08 August 2012 15:28 PM
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    The law locks up the man or woman
    Who steals the goose from off the common
    But leaves the greater villain loose
    Who steals the common from off the goose.

    The law demands that we atone
    When we take things we do not own
    But leaves the lords and ladies fine
    Who take things that are yours and mine.

    The poor and wretched don’t escape
    If they conspire the law to break;
    This must be so but they endure
    Those who conspire to make the law.

    The law locks up the man or woman
    Who steals the goose from off the common
    And geese will still a common lack
    Till they go and steal it back.

    • 08 August 2012 15:21 PM
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    FBA - No you dont get..... it the supermarkets still cannot act as EA they can only act as passive interemdiaries outside the EA act 1979. So the supermarkets can choose to compete with the portals and the newspapers that advertise property....but If they act as agents in anyway on line or traditional they fall under the act.

    You talk about they way they have decimeated the high street.....If they sell groceries or clothes they fall under to consumer protection act. Here the supermarkets have chosen to directly compete with the high steet under the same rules and regulations. Unless they do this with EA then you have nothing to worry about.

    What does me being an EA have to do with this.....in fact not being an EA allows me to analyse this without fear and hysteria.

    • 08 August 2012 15:12 PM
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    And that’s the rub isn’t Happy. 'If they want' Take RM for example. There are plenty of reasons why they don’t want to deal with the public. EAA isn’t one of them.
    This is not about the portals

    • 08 August 2012 15:00 PM
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    It still boils down to this.

    A few individuals (supermarkets) eyeing up a fragmented industry within which they cannot work because the law prevents them.

    We can't have that, can we?


    Change the law.

    A few well chosen, government appointed consultants have the potential to decimate an entire industry and its spin offs with a few wild strokes of their pens.



    Protect our industry and all those who work in it.
    (not you Happy, you are not an agent)

    • 08 August 2012 14:45 PM
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    The portals will be free to take listings from individuals (if the portals so wish). They will not be bound by the EA act. So in theory he portals could replace on line agents (as long as they have no active role in process). They could not replace traditional EA's because they do more than just advertise the property.

    • 08 August 2012 14:41 PM
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    This is exactly what the supermarkets did to the other high street retailers....we are no different. and this is the same government dedicating millions to the Mary Queen of shops save the high street campaign. If the policy makers would have the balls to license all parties coming into contact with property to either value, sell or let we wouldn’t have this debate.

    • 08 August 2012 14:38 PM
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    'The only new business models it will open up is to make it easier for individuals to list with the portals.'

    How so?

    • 08 August 2012 14:33 PM
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    Businesses providing advertising space for property, with no other estate agency function – for example, newspapers are already not covered by the EA act.
    What is the diference between a newspaper and a portal?

    As i said Tesco would either be acting as an EA or as in the description above which is the definition of a passive intermediary. It is very clear

    The only new business models it will open up is to make it easier for individuals to list with the portals.

    • 08 August 2012 14:01 PM
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    To all interested parties: Perhaps it would be a good idea to visit:
    Type in "Estate Agent/Agency" in their search box and read the most recent article which will clearly show the questions which we that care about our futures, and of those around us, should perhaps be answering directly to bis.gsi.gov.uk?

    • 08 August 2012 13:41 PM
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    Why are you all worried about passive intermediaries taking your business?

    If people want to bypass the traditional agent there are plenty of on-line services that will put your house on Rightmove already.

    They only have a tiny fraction of the market as, good agent or not so good agent, most people want someone to handle their sale for them.

    If Tesco came back into the market with a £150 and we'll list your property on Rightmove model ... so what? Only a few people would use it. And they are the ones who would probably already sell their own property anyway.

    • 08 August 2012 13:28 PM
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    The article actually refers to "Passive Intermediaries", if passed, being "Outside the scope of the Act." It is not about crying, it is about the damage this would potentially do to an already very fragile market and industry. It seems that so many people are, to varying degrees, blinkered to see the reality of the current state of affairs. We fail to see how this could not end in tears for many many estate agents and as others have rightly said, the associated spin-off industries will no doubt be suitably affected too. Please wake up and smell the coffee before there is more disasters!

    • 08 August 2012 13:16 PM
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    So quick with the bitchin and moaning, good ole Estate Agency! Maybe thats the kind of insular arrogance Buckle was talking about.

    Grow up FBA the world doesn't owe you a living.

    • 08 August 2012 13:10 PM
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    Trevor If you are correct and putting a board up is defined as an act of an Agent then Tesco would be bound by the EA act as would an online agent who fits a board......the proposal specifically refers to passive intermediaries

    "Passive businesses are defined as those that for example, allow for exchange of information about properties for sale between sellers and prospective buyers and provide a means for them to communicate with one another." Ie the portals

    I have been told over and over that being a real EA is mor e than just listing the property on RM and there will always be a requirment for this from some.

    • 08 August 2012 13:00 PM
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    There are no barriers to starting an estate agency, either on line or in bricks and mortar, other than you have to adhere to the relevant laws. It is called consumer protection! This is the message that needs to be got across in this consultation, not any crying about unfair competition.

    • 08 August 2012 12:42 PM
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    Well said, FBA! My grand-parents knew the founder of Tescos, John Cohen & his wife Tess, very well indeed. Apparently, a greedier man than we could even imagine! Enough said.

    • 08 August 2012 12:41 PM
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    Hey Buckle!

    Have you got a few million in the bank that makes you conceited enough to write such a post. Are you 'alright Jack' and sod the rest of us?

    Are you one to applaud the demise of Britsish shipbuilding, aerospace, car manufacturing, mining, retailing and more. Do you like to see long dole ques and poverty, entire towns stripped of their identity? Is this you?

    Do you like the idea of 4 supermarkets controlling everything you might wish to consume as a consumer? This will be from baby clothes to your funeral arrangements. Wherever these people turn their attention another group of hard working people are shoved on the 'to rot' pile.

    Is this you Buckle?
    Are you the supporter of this?

    Ah ha! you must be. May I recommend you go live in North Korea where you can enjoy being controlled by 4 or so people in every aspect of your life. Or.. support the big 4 supermarkets activity in the UK until they achieve the same effect through their chosen method.... money.

    • 08 August 2012 12:34 PM
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    The current 'online agents' do the minimum to justify that they're acting as EAs - measurements, photos, scan the house for obvious planning violations, etc.

    If they didn't do that, they would likely not be on RM.

    • 08 August 2012 12:34 PM
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    Sorry, Buckle Up, Yes, of course, we all know that online is where the action is. No-one is that green to think any different. Why do you think almost every agent in this country subscribes to the major portals? FBA is right and he is making the clear, IMO, point that this proposal is catastrophic to the future of any type of traditional methods of estate agency. You are missing the point which is how can any estate agency, large or small, challenge the supermarket giants, please?

    As for your thoughts on Rightmove, we suspect they will most likely entertain anyone that wishes to pay their ridiculous fees.

    Additionally, we would like to question your comment regarding the Government's intervention to generating revenue, we are sorry but it seems you may have been asleep for the last 5 years?

    government will endeavour to generate revenue

    • 08 August 2012 12:32 PM
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    So would this mean that "online agents" are not acutally classed as "estate agents" - therefore, they wouldn't be allowed to advertise their listings on rightmove etc.

    Correct me I'm wrong, I have a feeling I have misunderstood.

    • 08 August 2012 12:21 PM
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    Have we all been so insular as not to recognise that our industry is in transition? Maybe our siege mentality is the real monopoly here? Sorry Fun Boy Agent but our system is far from not broken, this is evolution not revolution.

    Firstly, we're living a digital age where many a high street legend has fallen to the e-retailer, our industry is no exception. In a world of easily accessible technology the internet was always going to be where the next level competition would emanate.

    The 'traditional agent' is being eroded and we can't let arrogance lead us to think we have a 'right' to be here. This is business and we need to remain relevant, we won't do that by standing still.

    Secondly, the housing market is a core principal of the economy and the government will endeavour to generate revenue. A fine balance of finance, access to market and due process. Banks were first and now its our turn, next the conveyancer etc.

    The 'passive intermediary' is a legitimate threat and despite our disdain, it was inevitable that it would eventually take a foothold. We can debate the Act and It's ramifications but we can't diminish the fact this will soon be a reality.

    • 08 August 2012 12:09 PM
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    Thank you W & FBA, we couldn't agree more!

    • 08 August 2012 12:07 PM
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    Hi Happy Chappy. The current legislation covers those who do agency things and theres many things in the pot.

    At the OFT meetings the OFT saw clear definition between traditional bricks and mortar agents and online. Many pointed out that redress and consumer protection should stand whether the agent was office based of not. So your correct there.

    The stumbling block is that supplying or erecting a FS Board is seen as the action of an agent. as such PMA and the EAA 79 applies not whether you were the main or sub agent.

    By making online models outside the EAA79 as it stands, it means that a large company and TESCO or Sainsbury's or ASDA are all fair models to use. Then if passed they could provide online marketing accompanied with a board.

    A board offers free advertising to such models who might then provide in return free national marketing.

    The estate agency thing would be a route if the law changes not to make the process better for consumers, but gain extra marketing for the supermarket war.

    Supermarkets pay £1000s for bill boards along road sides. Imagine the marketing value in having a board doors away in your neighbours garden.

    • 08 August 2012 12:06 PM
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    The major problem with Estate Agency is the ‘no sale – no fee’ model.
    If agents charged a three figure up front fee on listing (variable to stay clear of competition rules) for a clearly declared service over a time period, the variable %age on completion of a successful sale could be much lower. BUT, I doubt it would ever happen because to do that would mean ALL agents working together on a common model – if not the ordinary public would nearly always go for “no sale – no fees”. This would apply to supermarkets too if they offered the full EA service, not just listings, they would soon discover the true costs involved in providing that service so they will not do so?

    What to be done? I don’t know – does anyone!

    • 08 August 2012 12:01 PM
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    Happy Chappy on 2012-08-08 11:50:50

    "If i did not instruct an agent but stuck a sign up in my front garden saying my house was for sale would i be bound by the EA act 1979, If i advertised it in a newsapaper be bound by the act?"

    Why not READ the act to determine this for yourself?

    • 08 August 2012 12:00 PM
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    Please move on somewhere else POTW.

    This is not about prices and your opinions on them. This is about changes in legislation. Nothing to do with your house price opinion. You are just showing yourself to be a fool

    • 08 August 2012 11:58 AM
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    The PDF states ; "Government is committed to reducing the regulatory burdens on business in order to help
    economic growth."

    But the proposals therein don't reduce the regulatory burden on the existing industry, merely enable a sub-industry free from those regulatory burdens, creating a two-tier industry.

    It doesn't help economic growth for those already in the industry.

    • 08 August 2012 11:57 AM
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    "Making accurate observations is surely not ..... "

    "......that's what you agents want. House prices to just keep going up so no-one can afford them."

    Wildly inaccurate observation.

    I don't care whether prices are high or low, I'd just like a decent living from selling a bundle of them for and to the public.....

    • 08 August 2012 11:53 AM
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    'I would gladly sell your place for nothing if it help with your plans to emigrate.'

    Contact details please. I am interested in your offer and want to see if you are worth your fee.

    • 08 August 2012 11:52 AM
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    Trevor this has nothing to do with what premises an EA has it is about what service you provide.

    If the service is adverising property for sale descirbed by somone else, and your fee is not dependent on the sale of the property you will not be bound the EA Act if you offer services of an EA you will.

    So will Tesco et al compete with EAs, Online agents, or Rightmove. As i see it If they act as EA's in anyway they will still be bound by the EA act unless it is scrapped completely. If they just get properties listed on line they are effectively just a larger on line agent. The only people who will gain out of this are the portals.

    If i did not instuct an agent but stuck a sign up in my front garden saying my house was for sale would i be bound by the EA act 1979, If i advrtised it in a newsapaper be bound by the act?

    • 08 August 2012 11:50 AM
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    Another nail in the coffin!! .. Actually I've been lucky enough to have had really great agents a few times. Some dire ones too.

    Trouble is you move town so you can't use the good one again. Next time you move, it's pot luck all over again. And fees seem to be no guide to how good they are.

    Best agent I have come across is a one man band. During this recession corporates have come and gone in his town - he carries on regardless. You use him once and you'll never use anyone else so he gets loads of repeat business from people who do stay within his patch. His forte is simply staying in touch after the sale is agreed.

    • 08 August 2012 11:50 AM
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    Someone said (why no name?) 'If bitching and moaning is hereditary your boy best think again about moving to Oz'

    Making accurate observations is surely not bitching and moaning.

    Anyway, eldest lad just got a job with a global construction outfit - first job is in California. He's over the moon - his life can really start now and he won't have to flog himself to death to buy some overpriced shoe box in the UK. Great news all round!

    From my point of view it's a real shame he has to move abroad to get on with his life but, hey-ho, that's what you agents want. House prices to just keep going up so no-one can afford them. Weird really as it means, by definition, you'll all go out of business in the end.

    • 08 August 2012 11:46 AM
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    Sorry POW, unfotunately it would appear that you may have experienced some of this industry's less dedicated estate agents.Yes, many just want as many listings as possible and do have extremely high fall through rates but this most certainly does not apply to all estate agents. If you were aware of the extent of the spiralling overheads & running costs which now apply to estate agents, you would seriously re-consider your 0.5% case. Would you buy the cheapest car possible or go to the least experienced hairdresser purely based on cost? Trusting professional, qualified and experienced individuals to agree a sale (of most peoples largest item) and one who strives to ensure that sale does not fall through, is not worthy of a reasonable fee? Sorry, we don't agree with your opinions on this at all. The UK estate agency fees are amongst the lowest in the world and are decreasing rapidly with this type of opinion.

    • 08 August 2012 11:31 AM
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    Here's the reality. If passed agents could see a supermarket offer sellers or tenants say a FS/To Let board for £30 to gain permission to put up a board with branding on private garden.

    What if the board also shows sell r let for 0%

    If a supermarket gets 30% shoppers in a town of say 20 agents. Then at least 6 shoppers are target clientele. Imagine if a agency had six outlets in your town and then offered 0% fees in return for putting up their FS banner.

    Take it serious - you've got until the 10th Aug to have your say.

    • 08 August 2012 11:24 AM
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    Thank you but we are all fed up of your opinions on every subject.
    I would gladly sell your place for nothing if it help with your plans to emigrate.
    If bitching and moaning is hereditary your boy best think again about moving to Oz

    • 08 August 2012 11:24 AM
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    How naive of those posters who spout 'free market' etc. Try standing back and having another look at what you see here from a slightly different perspective.

    It could be said that currently here is an industry (not exactly thriving, but there nonetheless) where a lot of people are employed, providing in the main, a good service and local advice. Spin offs from this include solicitors/conveyancers employed, surveyors employed, mortgage brokers employed, board companies employed, printers employed, and so on.

    To the left are a small but powerful bunch of folk who see all of this activity, see it has a pound note value, see it can produce an income and would therefore like to take this business from those that currently do it. Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrisons will be watching this.

    Thr big 4 supermarket chains cannot get involved in this lucrative business, legislation and law prevents them because they cannot easily operate a national cut price service within current laws.

    So what is their solution?

    Get the law changed so they can.

    It is crystal clear to them.

    Does any right thinking individual see this as the way forward for any society? Someone big and powerful cannot do something they want to do because the law prevents them, so change the law so they can. Stuff me... Did the Normans sneak back over the channel in those marvellous ships they have and infiltrate our politicians again. This was how William the Conqueror behaved back then, it was brutal and feudal but got him what he and his Barons wanted to the detriment of an entire Nation, the ramifications we still live with to this very day.

    If the way is paved for supermarkets to enter this industry, all of us will feel totally swamped by them in our daily lives as you will see nothing but 'their' advertising boards in every street in the country. Choice of 4 and the stalwart also ran's. They will also, on the back of it, swallow almost all conveyancing, surveying and mortgages. They would destroy 1000.s of business both directly and indirectly (printers, board men, et-al). Oh! and they will not need the portals, Rightmove and Zoopla will go down too, unless they merge with one of the big 4.

    This is complete lunacy.

    Their next target could be your industry (whatever you are in, do not be fooled. This is not free market enterprise, this is forsaking an industry for the 'big boys'.

    • 08 August 2012 11:22 AM
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    Even at 0.5%, sales will still fall through, mortgage lenders will change their minds about lending to buyers who've made offers, who will have to pull out, etc etc -

    charging one-third of the fee which currently (just) makes a living will only lead to one result - not making a living.

    The successful sales HAVE to cover the expenses on those that don't complete, and on the unassigned time/effort which doesn't 'belong; to a particular sale, for asAs long as the public wants to only pay on completion and on successful sales.....

    • 08 August 2012 11:19 AM
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    Hawkeye - Thank you for your observations on spelling. Its likely as I was up at 4.30am trying to do what I can for agents.

    If you don't understand how to deliver better service to clients, ie the benefits from a set fee of £99 to say 1.5%-2% I would be pleased to show you.

    And please if posting use your real name. Hawkeye was an action man doll for little boys.

    • 08 August 2012 11:17 AM
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    Another nail in the coffin!! ... ' a lack of able buyers'

    Why is there a lack of able buyers?

    House prices way too high perhaps?

    Or banks not willing to lend hundreds of k against an asset likely to fall in price having inflated the market way beyond the bounds of normal affordability measures.

    Any market should find its own level. But the housing market is not being allowed to because it will take the banks with it.

    • 08 August 2012 11:14 AM
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    Surely all you have to do is compete on fees.

    It always tickles me when I have agents round to value.

    We're in the 1.5% range ... I say 'so and so will do it for 1% ... and they (effectively) say sniffily ... 'you get what you pay for' ... but that simply isn't true.

    I've had agents promise me the earth in terms of customer service and then produce amateur sales particulars with poor photographs and spelling mistakes. With important selling features not mentioned etc. And then, because - let's face it - it's not rocket science - you stick the property on Rightmove and a few buyers enquire and you get an offer - afterwards you don't hear a thing. If you want to know what's happening with your sale you have to ring the agent!

    Sorry guys, just because you've got big flash offices and a fleet of expensive contract hired cars - doesn't mean I need to pay you 5 grand to stick my property on Rightmove and send a few buyers around.

    If you can get away with it - fine. I won't get caught again.

    If an agent said to me - we charge 0.5% because we work our nuts off and sell more houses than anyone else and 0.5% allows us to make a decent living I'd be happy with that.

    But 1.5% because half our sales fall through and we make a living off the few that do go through ... no thanks.

    • 08 August 2012 11:10 AM
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    e-mail address given in the article.

    Everyone write to it right now, asking for ;

    an extension to the deadline
    clarification on where it has been publicised and for how long

    and point out that many of the interested parties and stakeholders seem to be unaware of the proposals

    • 08 August 2012 11:08 AM
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    We agree 100% with all except Terry Katona. Is the state of the world economy, banking industry, lack of able buyers, not to mention the famine of mortgages and consumer confidence not enough for this country to attempt to deal with. Let's just add thousands more to the jobless millions, why don't we all just pack up and go home? What will be next - surgeons who don't have responsibilties to their patients, lawyers who don't have to consider the law? It seems those most able to help have lost the plot. And the consumer to the estate agency world, almost all have 2 things in mind, the highest price for their home and the lowest fee possible, irrespective of compliance, service, integrity and duty of care. This is absolutely innsane. I think all agents should, just for once, stick together on this. As a consumer which shop in our area regularly sells out of essential daily items, the hugely extended Tescos! It seems they have the buying power, monopoly and distinct lack of regard for their customers. We need to act now and plead for the powers that be to help with this potential shambles, please.

    • 08 August 2012 10:57 AM
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    @Trevor M You have lost credibility with the word waited which should be spelt weighted. Dimwit. If you could spell correctly you may have been notified of this!

    @FBA the meddlers are boys in the back room given a job to justify the payroll but sadly they have no idea about the business as was demonstrated with the introduction and withdrawal of HIP's.

    @Wardy should a bank launder money as appears to be the case in the headlines at present.

    @Trevor M
    'What’s better - sell for £99 via online and get £190k or sell paying agents 1.5% to sub out, gain 2-3potential buyers and agree a sale at £200k' I make you exactly right because vendors are frightened to say no as they think it is no not ever whereas we as EA's say no and it is no not now. Understanding the difference is fundamental in any sale situation and we know this but punter just don’t get it. We will survive.

    • 08 August 2012 10:49 AM
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    Wardy - The proposal is basically saying that traditiona agents based in bricks and mortar offices would have redress still.

    BUT the changes would mean online agents would have a seperate set of easy rules giving them an unfair advantage outside agent redress law.

    If so for commercial gain large supermarkets could launch the TESCO model at say low or £0% commission to have for sale boards up as banners. You can almost imagine supermarkets showing daily deals integrated into Joe Public trying to sell their home.

    When agents work together which technology now allows with recent developments the web can be used to highlight a clients property to a wider buyer audience. If the agent can work with other agents to gain more viewers and more offers, agents together can get clients better prices through good old negotiation.

    Whats better - sell for £99 via online and get £190k or sell paying agents 1.5% to sub out, gain 2-3potential buyers and agree a sale at £200k

    Me thinks the fact the consumer has paid more than for just on online ad is justified selling on service and not cheap web models.

    Technology now allows UK agents to do this cross software platforms. This technology is new and potentially game changing in favour over online FSBO models that sit outside redress.

    • 08 August 2012 10:33 AM
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    The portals can already take direct listings if they want to. There is nothing to stop them, certainly not the EEA.
    I think you have missed the point. Government is trying to difine the title 'Estate Agent' and who should be included in it.

    • 08 August 2012 09:51 AM
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    This will be another nail in the coffin for traditional estate agents who are already under threat from online agencies.

    What can we expect from our politicians when they can't agree amongst themselves let alone support their own people?

    • 08 August 2012 09:50 AM
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    Why do agents think they are exempt from competiton?, like it or not we live in a free market economy, every other industry has a rival, so this proposal is not anything to be shocked by, in fact it's long overdue, you will just have to adapt to the changes, sink or swim!.

    • 08 August 2012 09:48 AM
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    The consumer protection act 2008 (i think) would still apply to the intermediaries and if the offer any more than an itermediary service the Estate agency act 1979 will still apply. What are you traditional estate agents scared of many people will still reqiure the services of a traditional agent.

    More likely this will effect on line agents more, whose main USP is to get private listings on the portals cheaply.
    Much to the annoyance of some it will open up the path for the portlas to take direct listings (if they want to) as long as they only act as an intermediary.

    • 08 August 2012 09:43 AM
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    "......A very quiet yet potentially explosive consultation to amend the Estate Agents Act 1979 has been under way and ends this Friday. If it goes through, as seems likely, it would actively encourage consumers to bypass traditional agents completely........The proposal, by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills.........."

    NFoPP/NAEA and RICS ....Please get your skates on and use your best endeavours to react quickly to this. It should be your priority to look after your members interests to the exclusion of all other current "bolt-on" activities!

    • 08 August 2012 09:43 AM
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    I don’t understand the sentiments behind this.
    Should a new bank be allowed to operate outside the FSA because it’s seen as a barrier?
    Should a building contractor not have to adhere to health and safety so it’s easier to build houses?
    Who is it that has taken a look at the industry and decided that there are not enough ‘passive agents’ anyway? The only barrier an online only agent has to face when setting up a website is the £150 cheque to the ombudsman and most won’t bother with that anyway. This is a step backwards for consumers.

    • 08 August 2012 09:41 AM
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    It seems that NAEA were also unaware of the proposals as I'm not aware that they have alerted their members to respond to the consultation or indicated what they were doing themselves to challenge the proposal. Perhaps the NAEA staff were too busy sobbing to the new chief exec that members are starting to ask for something in return for their subscriptions :-)

    • 08 August 2012 09:31 AM
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    How infuriating. What is wrong with these people?

    As we get our medals in the Olympics here we have the the alternative, the meddling political fools.

    Easy answer.

    Our system is not broken.
    Do not try to fix it.

    Your meddling will result in the 'Supermarkets' taking over yet another industry.

    • 08 August 2012 09:24 AM
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    It would be nice to know who is quietly pushing this proposal forward.

    I was involved in original consultations and stood up for traditional agents and opposed the budget big company web model. I would like to know why I didnt know about the deadline and also if the monopolies commission is aware as it lays open the market place for a large single budget model to rule. And not in the interest of consumers or those employed in the property industry.

    • 08 August 2012 09:13 AM
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    The 79 Estate Agents Act stopped TESCO in 2007. If proposals go ahead traditional agents would still be under regulation for little more than being in bricks and mortar offices, whilst large companies could offer low or no cost web models outside consumer protection.

    The proposals clear show encouragement of a web model to directly link buyer to seller

    Its wrong that the playing field would be waited against agents, whilst online budget property marketeers would be outside agent legislation. If allowed the likes of supermarkets could take advantage, not for the good of the seller, but for their own advantage having mass board branding 0% fees in most UK roads and streets.

    I sincerely hope ministers such as Vince Cable see sense to over rule such proposals.

    If web models do enter and are the source of the instruction, they should be prepared to run under the same rules, fines and regulations that agents do and would have to run under. If a supermarket entered and we know the TESCO model was up and running, then the source of instruction should face Property Misdescription and fines of upto £5k if details from them or their clients misrepresent the property being marketed.

    Agents must make their concerns heard before the 10th August.

    • 08 August 2012 09:08 AM
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    With so many alternatives in the market and new ones appearing it seems the world is already onto this?

    Interestingley while i was in town yesterday saw that a long established local online operation within good market share had moved into a 'traditional' retail unit

    • 08 August 2012 08:59 AM
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