Behold CIELA, or the Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents, in the flesh. This photograph was taken at their inaugural gathering in Bicester, Oxfordshire yesterday where they spent five hours discussing the challenges that smaller agents face.
The CIELA members talked about the many several ways independent agents could take on the corporates including in one of the most pressing areas – communications.
The group discussed how public relations could harness the collective power of independent agents and take on the “misleading marketing” put about the larger estate agency firms.
Luke Gidney, owner of Let Leeds letting agency, said: “As an industry, we have never faced so many serious challenges at once. We urgently need a united voice now, without corporate influence.”
Vivienne Harris, owner of Heathgate Properties in London, said: “Currently we are an industry that is under attack. We need an organisation that can lobby government and educate the public on what it is we actually do.”
The discussions also swung round to the group’s dislike of online-only and “fake agent” agents, as well as how to use independent agents’ sales and lettings data to produce the UK’s most up-to-date and accurate house price and rental indices.
“It could become the ultimate authority on property market transactions and sentiment,” said David Butler of ResiAnalytics, who spoke to the gathering.
A CIELA spokesperson said: “With data that powerful, the government would have no choice but to listen to the views of the industry as a whole, as opposed to the views of a small number of corporate brands.”
The people in the picture include (left to right): Liz Beswick (PR), Perry Power, Andy Ferguson, Simon Gresswell, Donald Collins, Charlie Wright, Kristjan Byfield, Luke Gidney, Vivienne Harris, Nick Goldsworthy.