The head of the portal PropertyMutual has accused Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket of being “corporate dinosaurs” and has called on agents to instead join his platform.
In a move we predicted at our foundation, a whole year before OnTheMarket went live, the pseudo-mutual Agents' Mutual has announced its plans to de-mutualise.
Rightmove could charge agents an average £2,500 per month per office at some point in the long-term future.
City analysts were briefed after Friday’s results were posted by the portal.
At the briefing, incoming chief executive Peter Brooks-Johnson “sketched out the sustainability of growth to £2,500 longer term”, analyst William Packer reported. The sum of £2,500 is what Rightmove said agents had been spending per month on newspaper advertising in the past.
The new codes will address what TPO describes as 'emerging industry issues', the most high profile of which is the practice known as 'portal juggling'.
Connells has sold part of its shareholding in Zoopla, and now appears to have a stake of under 3%.
As at December 31 last year, it had a stake of around 4%.
LSL, parent company of brands including Your Move, Reeds Rains and Marsh & Parsons, has sold 7.8m shares in Zoopla at an average £3.20 per share, it announced on Friday.
Agents’ Mutual has been ordered to make further payments into court as the legal battle with Gascoigne Halman continues.
At the weekend, Gascoigne Halman issued this statement: “Gascoigne Halman notes that the Competition Appeal Tribunal last week ordered Agents’ Mutual to make a further payment into court of £830k to cover its legal costs in the event that Gascoigne Halman succeeds in the legal action being taken against it by Agents’ Mutual.
“This, together with an additional £450k also ordered to be paid into court in respect of a separate but related action, means that Agents’ Mutual will have paid into Court over £2m by year end.
“Agents’ Mutual also stated to the court that their own legal costs will exceed £2m.
“Gascoigne Halman is committed to defending its position and is confident that the Competition Appeal Tribunal will uphold its right to advertise on portals of its choice.
“As a Gold member of OnTheMarket, Gascoigne Halman is extremely disappointed that Agents’ Mutual has chosen to divert over £4m of its members’ loan notes and subscriptions away from its marketing activities when they would surely be better employed for the benefit of its members.”
It is thought that the other action referred to in the statement relates to Cardiff-based independent Moginie James, which also continues to list at OnTheMarket.
Scammers have been using the Rightmove brand to dupe tenants out of rental deposits.
Property listing website The House Shop says it has seen ‘multiple’ incidents in recent months of fake landlords advertising cheap rents and then sending potential tenants an email from “Rightmove Tenant Verification”.
The email contains a link that looks like a Rightmove web page using the portal’s branding but applicants are invited to pay a deposit that gets sent to the scammer’s bank account held in the name of “Rightmove Plc”.
The OTM Action Group has released a statement claiming that Agents' Mutual has chosen not to address any of the concerns raised in a Letter Before Action.
The practice of ‘portal juggling’, where listings are deliberately removed and relisted to bump them to the top of the list of new properties, has been banned in the UK.
After months of submissions, a warning was issued from industry regulator the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team that estate agents who deliberately mislead potential home buyers portal juggling could be prosecuted and banned from the industry.
When buying a home prospective sellers expect the details to be listed correctly but new research has found that 48% of houses in sale across the UK contain rooms that are listed incorrectly.
The analysis of estate agent data also found that 36% of single bedrooms rooms are technically too small to be classed as such for anyone aged over 10 and 17% of double rooms are not big enough to be inhabited by two people.
Liverpool has the most errors for single rooms with 69% listed not meeting size requirements as set out by the Housing Act 1985 which says that a child under the age of 10 can occupy a room which is less than 50 square feet because they are classed as ‘half a person’, however a single bedroom should have a floor space of between 50 and 70 square feet.
The attempt by start-up property portal OnTheMarket.com to break the duopoly that exists in online listings is set to face a key test in court.
A landmark ruling could end OnTheMarket.com’s stipulation that estate agencies can only list on one other website — in effect making them choose between its key rivals, Rightmove and Zoopla.
Agents’ Mutual has been ordered to pay into court £1m.
The Financial Times reports that £750,000 of that money must be paid in by today, and the rest by August 30.
The money is in security for Gascoigne Halman’s costs and to “fortify” financially an undertaking it has so far given in the proceedings, according to the FT.
Over 50 estate agents in the rebel OnTheMarket Action Group have released details of a letter sent to the portal’s parent company, Agents’ Mutual.
A fine of £735,000 imposed on an association of estate and letting agents and a local newspaper publisher has been described as “comparatively small”.
Estate agents use the trick to boost their presence.
Properties appear to have just come on the market when they have only been relisted.
Sellers can be caught out by the trick if the buyer or surveyor spots it.
Connells Group and Agents’ Mutual were in court this week.
Agents’ Mutual, which runs OnTheMarket, confirmed that the hearing related to Gascoigne Halman, the firm in the north that was bought by Connells last autumn.
A hearing in the Chancery division of the High Court was also listed between Agents’ Mutual and Moginie James for Tuesday this week.
There has been some discussion as to whether firms that use self-employed local property experts – or their equivalents – should be treated as one business, or several.
Earlier this month, PIE reported that Purplebricks’ local property experts were being individually signed up to The Property Ombudsman.
This prompted speculation as to whether there might be other areas where self-employed local experts should be individually treated, including whether they should have their own Rightmove memberships.
As post-Brexit referendum vote shockwaves continue to reverberate around stock markets and currency exchanges, many publicly-quoted property companies took a hit yesterday.
At one point Countrywide was down by around 55 points, or 20 per cent; hybrid agency Purplebricks was down as much as 25 points, or over 15 per cent; and Foxtons ended the day down 30.5 points or 22.6 per cent.
Solicitors’ company Tollers says more than 50 estate agents have now formally instructed it in relation to claims against Agents’ Mutual, the parent company of OnTheMarket.
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