< Estate Agents Under Review By The OFT | Property News Weekly

Estate Agents Under Review By The OFT

In any industry, there will be good firms and there will be bad firms. The definition of why they are good or bad may depend on your point of view and indeed, it may depend on a particular experience at a certain point of time. One person may think a particular estate agent is good while another person has a negative experience and will think that the firm is bad. This is why there is often a lot of debate about estate agents because the experience for a client can change from time to time. However, this is not the only way that a firm can be deemed to be good or bad.

It may be that good firms find opportunities to make more money and this can often lead them to creating a negative situation for many clients. If these opportunities are taken by most firms in the industry, this sort of behaviour can become the industry norm. This is why estate agents, like people and many other industries, have to accept the old adage about how all it takes for evil or bad to triumph is for good people to do nothing.

Good estate agents have to speak up

Many estate agents are unhappy with the actions taken by other agents and this is why the MD of Aspect has decided to take action. Will Davies has said that the firm aims to provide an affordable property maintenance service for landlords and that the firm has been set up to respond to estate agents that provide a poor quality and over-priced service. The reason for this service came into being when Mr Davies said that his firm was sick and tired of dealing with estate agents that asked for commission from firms that provided a property maintenance service. Mr Davies went so far as to call this type of behaviour “a scam”.

The firm used to provide property maintenance services in the London area for a well-known estate agent but when the estate agent wanted to increase the commission they took from 15% to 20%, the firm decided that enough was enough.

There is a backdrop of the Office of Fair Trading carrying out an investigation into the residential property management industry. This has arisen due to a lot of complaints delivered towards letting agents. The main cause of complaints has centred around overpricing and through failing to maintain the property properly.

A senior office of the OFT, Rachel Merelie spoke of the desire to ensure that the maintenance charges provide a fair deal for tenants as these charges can be substantial. While high prices and fees are not uncommon in the property market, there needs to be a justification of the money that is being paid out, which is what forms a large part of the investigation that is currently taking place.


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