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CIELA launch now very likely to proceed, says founder

Initial worries about number of agents who had signed up to join the campaigning organisation have proved unfounded.

Nigel Lewis
ciela launch

CIELA’s founding members at an inaugural gathering earlier this year.

The CIELA launch strategy to highlight the organisations potential downfall unless agents sign up in enough numbers has worked after founder Charles Wright revealed that it is on track for a full launch on October 1st.

In June the Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents predicted the organisation would face a bleak future unless independent agents who had shown interest paid to join the organisation and give it enough revenue for a launch. But now Charles says agent recruitment is back on track after initial worries if “current trends continue”.

The organisation has also recently launched its full website, positioning itself as a new voice for agents to prevent the “corporate takeover of the industry”.

CIELA has set itself some tough initial goals for its first few months following the official launch including stopping the ban on letting fees and locking horns with Purplebricks and other online agents.

CIELA Charlie Wright“It has become clear that the most important post-launch priority for our members is to shine the spotlight on rogue independent agents,” says Charles (pictured, left).

“The consensus is that sloppy standards among lower-quality agents, who are the ones most likely to be avoiding legislative requirements, stimulate the most public complaints and are the primary reason for the industry’s poor reputation.

“Further, there is still no organisation actively campaigning to improve the industry’s image.”

To this end, CIELA says it is to campaign hard to expose “lower-quality” agents and work to ensure they comply with all legislation via an online checker-cum-certification process on its website, which will enable agents – whether they are members of not – to display a ‘seal of integrity’ to display on their websites.

Consumer guarantee

Other ideas being mooted by CIELA include an ABTA-style consumer guarantee to recompense consumers who are victims of dishonest conduct by agents, underwritten by an insurance company.

CIELA is also getting in to bed with the HomeOwner’s Alliance (HOA), with which it has already had exploratory talks about how both organisations could work together to highlight the industry’s more reputable operators.

Although the HOA is generally critical of the industry as a whole, (it recently called agents’ activities a “murky world”) it has made sympathetic noises about independent agents in the past, including a report it produced in March.

It claimed that the big agent chains were less likely to discuss terms and fees openly on first contact with potential clients, while independent agents are more likely give out this information at the first point of enquiry.

Read the CIELA back story.


July 20, 2017

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