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LABOUR’S EMILY BROTHERS ASKS ESTATE AGENTS IN SUTTON AND CHEAM TO JOIN FIGHT AGAINST DOUBLE CHARGING
WEDNESDAY 5 NOVEMBER 2014

 

Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate, Emily Brothers has today called on estate agents in Sutton and Cheam to join Labour’s fight to stop home buyers and sellers being ripped off by double charging. In these sales, agents charge fees to both the buyer and the seller even though it is on the same property.
Ms Brothers pledged to make agents in Sutton and Cheam doing this come clean and backed plans to outlaw the practice Labour have proposed in parliament. Speaking about the issue Emily Brothers said :
“Everyone has heard horror stories about buying a home- but the kinds of behaviours we’re seeing now with fees and charges are fast becoming a nightmare. Charging buyers a fee on top of the price of their new home means they have to offer a lower price to sellers. The only people who do well out of these deals are the agents who get a nice fat fee, billing both the buyer and the seller.
“It’s costs like these that can make it harder for people in Sutton and Cheam to get on and up the property ladder. That’s why I can’t believe the Government refused to listen to Labour’s calls to deal with this- and why I’m determined to highlight how buyers and sellers here can avoid these charges by publishing a list of which agents are doing this and which support our campaign to outlaw it.”
Nationally, Labour has put forward plans to use the Consumer Rights Bill to end double charging. Ms Brothers will be publishing the responses of local estate agents in Sutton and Cheam to her call to refuse to use double charging contracts on her website which can be found at www.emilybrothers.com

In the last year, 1 million homes were bought in the UK, up from 930,000 In 2012.
‘Sale by informal tender’ contracts involve using sealed bids to make offers on properties. Increasingly, estate agents are then charging the successful bidder an ‘introductory’ fee – in some cases of 2-2.5% of the property fee + VAT - as a ‘finders fee’ to the agent.
On 6 March 2014 the Government voted against Labour’s proposals to allow this practice to challenged in court. The Consumer Rights Bill is currently being debated in the House of Lords before returning to the Commons.
From 1 April 2014 the regulation of all Estate Agents in England and Wales was transferred to Powys County Council Trading Standards. Labour also voted against this and called for a clear framework for alternative dispute resolution to be put in place to protect consumers.

TEXT OF LETTER FROM EMILY BROTHERS TO ESTATE AGENTS

I am writing to you as The Labour Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam to ask for your help in ensuring our local property market is a fair and competitive one for all concerned.
Ensuring everyone can access affordable and quality housing in Sutton and Cheam is a key concern of many, as house prices in London have increased by 19.6% in the last year. However, some agents have started to use ‘sale by informal tender’ contracts whereby buyers submit sealed bids to make offers on properties. We have discovered that some agents using these contracts are then charging the successful bidder around 2-2.5% of the property value + VAT as a ‘finders fee’ to the agent. Sellers are also charged a fee to market their property in this way at the same time.
This practice leaves both sellers and buyers short-changed. Buyers lower their offers to accommodate the cost of paying such a fee- which can be several thousands of pounds- meaning the seller will receive less for their asset or may lose an opportunity to sell their property. There is also a conflict of interest for the estate agent to receive money from two parties on the same sale, as it is not clear in whose interests they operate.
That’s why I’m contacting all estate agents here in Sutton and Cheam to ask them to commit to not use any ‘double charging’ contracts. I will also be making public the outcome of all this correspondence. I wanted to therefore give your company an opportunity to comment on this behaviour and clarify whether or not you use these contracts, or indeed any other form of contract that entails both the buyer and the seller paying a fee to you during the course of a sale. I would like to invite your company to join our campaign to end this rip off by pledging not to use any such contracts. Your involvement and support for this principle is also something that we will publicise as well.
You can provide your response on this issue via email to info@emilybrothers.com or by reply to the above address. I look forward to hearing from you and your commitment to a fair housing market for our community.

Yours sincerely
Emily Brothers

LIST OF ESTATE AGENTS

Barnard Marcus
Burn and Warne
Leaders
Cubitt and West
Ann Charles
Choices
Haart
Cromwells
Mann
Andrews
Goodfellows
Winkworth
Your Move
William Harlow
Christies
Lee Chapman
Martin & Co
Kenyons
Cavendish
Gascoigne Pees
Coopers Residential
Northwood Sutton
Ushers
Silverman Black
Paul Graham


 

 

 

 

 

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