The start-up of a new membership organisation just for independent estate agents called the Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents (CIELA) has moved on to its next phase.
CIELA is the brain child of Charlie Wright, CEO of software firm Easymatch, who says independent agents need a separate organisation to help them fight against ‘corporate domination’.
Charter Secretary Samantha Westlake says inauguration is due to take place tomorrow and that an interim monthly pre-launch membership fee of £35 is to be introduced for agents wanting to join from 1st April. This will be a few days before CIELA is due to launch the organisation to the press.
Since announcing their intentions in January, CIELA’s 11 founding members have been consulting among independent agents, who they say have a strong desire for a ‘collective voice’.
They also looked closely at several key questions including; whether there were enough issues and problems facing independent agents to justify a new organisation, whether CIELA would benefit consumers too, and whether there was enough support within the industry given the number of existing membership organisations.
“It was agreed that the answer to all three questions is ‘yes’,” a CIELA briefing document circulated today reveals.
The organisation’s aims are ambitious. It wants to be the ‘most powerful industry organisation to date’ and work to both counter threats to the industry as well as using PR to communicate with house movers about the benefits of independent agents.
“With sufficient support, CIELA will be a significant organisation, possibly the most significant of all, and great care will be taken to ensure that the organisation builds a reputation as working for the combined interests of the industry and its home-moving customers,” the document says.
CIELA says it expects to launch as a fully-formed organisation on the 1st October this year following a period of consultation and planning, as well as the appointment of regional officers who will act as ambassadors.
Agents joining CIELA early before the official launch, as well as paying a subscription fee, must fulfil several criteria. These include being members of a redress scheme, being signed up to one of the deposit protection schemes, registered with HMRC for anti-money laundering purposes and displaying their lettings fees in accordance with the Consumer Rights Ac 2015.