Associations & Bodies

News and updates from associations and member organisations in the UK residential property industry.

  • The Property Ombudsman logo image
    Associations & Bodies

    Gerry Fitzjohn to Chair the TPO

    The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has announced that Gerry Fitzjohn, the Vice Chairman of the Board, will replace Chairman of TPO, Bill McClintock, on 1st January 2016. McClintock, who has more than 50 years’ experience in estate agency, joined TPO as Chief Operating Officer in January 2003, has held the position of Chairman since January 2014. He will now continue as a Director of The Guild of Professional Estate Agents and Fine & Country, as well as continuing with interests outside work including his role as Church Warden at St John’s, Lockerley, which he has now carried out for 24 years. During his time at the helm, the volume of offices registered with TPO has increased from 769 firms with 4,251 offices registered with the property watchdog to around 14,400 sales offices and 13,500 lettings offices. McClintock (left) commented, “I have really enjoyed my time with TPO and shall miss meeting so many connected to the industry. I hope to have made a difference in some way, but now I’m looking forward to taking some time out. I would like to wish my successor and friend Gerry Fitzjohn every success going forward.” Fitzjohn, who began serving on the TPO Board in…

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  • auction bid image
    Associations & Bodies

    Awards honour industry’s best auctioneers

    NAVA has presented Katie Semmens (right) of land and property firm Clive Emson with its prestigious Auctioneer of the Year award – the top honour at the body’s annual awards ceremony. Semmens impressed the judges with “her outstanding professional auctioneering skills, including handling difficult bidding situations whilst maintaining genuine customer empathy, and adding a good touch of humour to help lift the bid levels”, according to NAVA. The President’s Award was presented to Steven Denley-Hill, who has dedicated much of his professional life to NAVA and held several influential roles including president, chairman and CEO. The Community Award was presented to Symonds & Sampson as the company that best demonstrated their commitment to corporate and social responsibilities within the community. This year’s Property Auction House of the Year award was handed to Network Auctions “for demonstrating outstanding customer service, robust business strategy, effective marketing, profession involvement and best practice.” Phil Arnold, President, NAVA, said, “This event is an industry institute. Now in its fifth year, it’s a great way for us to show off and congratulate the great work conducted by valuers and auctioneers across the whole business. “We were extremely impressed with this year’s entrants – the standard was…

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  • The Property Ombudsman logo image
    Associations & Bodies

    TPO announces new Property Ombudsman

    Katrine Sporle CBE (left)  will take up the role of Ombudsman at The Property Ombudsman, it has been announced. Sporle will start her new job on 1st November 2015, taking over from her predecessor Christopher Hamer (right), whose nine-year term comes to an end on 30th November. Previously, Sporle was Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate for England and Wales for eight years, which involved being responsible for all aspects of the Government Executive Agency, 1,000 members of staff and a £60million budget. She was directly answerable to Parliament and regularly reported to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (CLG), and the Minister for Housing and Planning in the National Assembly for Wales. She commented, “The scope for influence on the economic, environmental and social wellbeing of the nation as a whole was enormous, and exercised through impartiality of decision making to the highest level of professional expertise.” Prior to her role at the Planning Inspectorate for England and Wales, Sporle was Chief Executive of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for eight years, controlling an overall budget of in the region of £58 million. As the new Property Ombudsman, Sporle’s role will be to impartially review complaints…

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  • mortgage pension pot image
    Associations & Bodies

    Nearly a million mortgage borrowers “face difficulties”

    Close to 1 million homeowners are unable to pay off their mortgages because they opted for interest-only loans, according to Citizens Advice. Citizens Advice said 934,000 owners did not have a plan in place to pay back the outstanding debt on their property at the end of the mortgage term, and face having to sell their home or even have the property repossessed. “People buy a home for stability, but interest-only mortgages have forced many into a financial black hole,” said Citizens Advice’s Chief Executive, Gillian Guy. The charity has highlighted between 2017 and 2018 as the period when there is most likely to be a spike in the volume of people facing repossession as it is when many people will face the end of their mortgage repayment period. Prior to rules being tightened three years ago, it was relatively simple to get an interest-only mortgage. Now only buy-to-let investors can take out cheaper ‘interest-only’ mortgages currently deemed too risky for regular homebuyers, reducing their monthly payments in the process. “This can help many borrowers to make easy savings, which means that they can generate even bigger returns on their investment,” said Charlotte Nelson (right), Finance Expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk. Citizens…

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  • Countrywide logo
    Associations & Bodies

    Countrywide teams up with NAEA to increase membership levels

    Countrywide plc and the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) have announced a new landmark partnership which will see Countrywide’s customer facing estate agents invited to become members of the NAEA. The agreement makes Countrywide the first national estate agency network to officially adopt such an undertaking, offering employees the opportunity of high level training alongside their nationally recognised qualifications. The move is sure to gain the approval of many leading qualified trainers, including Tony Lynch (left), a coach at Keep Thinking Big. He points out that estate agents are no different to any other profession when it comes to the need to update skills and techniques. He commented: “We all need ongoing training in order to become better tomorrow than we are today.” He highlights various skills, such as listening, connecting and becoming a ‘master’ at questions that unlock the doors of opportunity as all being learnable skills, as being “imperative for the successful estate agent”. Lynch also pointed to “attitude” as a key component when it comes to training and learning. “If a team understands the importance of training and have a hunger for becoming the best they can be, then the ingredients are set for a huge…

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  • The Property Ombudsman logo image
    Associations & Bodies

    Property Ombudsman Christopher Hamer to step down

    The Property Ombudsman (TPO), Christopher Hamer, is to step down later this year, it has been announced. He will be leaving office on 30th November 2015 after completing the maximum nine years that he is allowed to serve as Ombudsman. Mr Hamer (left) said, “I have been in the post for many years, have enjoyed it immensely and found working with all the various stakeholder organisations and individuals most rewarding. I don’t have any particular plans at this stage post 30th November but I do hope that in some way I will be able to contribute to developments in the property sector. I hope the next Property Ombudsman finds it as enjoyable and rewarding as I did and I would like to wish them the best of luck.” The independent TPO Council together with the TPO Board Chairman, Bill McClintock (right), have already begun the search to fill the position. Mr McClintock said, “Christopher has been a highly effective Ombudman during a time when the scheme has expanded enormously. Both those working with him and in the industry will miss him greatly.” Meanwhile, Malcolm Cannon, the Chief Executive of lettings agency at Braemore, has been appointed to the board of…

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  • Products & Services

    OnTheMarket – it’s finally here!

    OnTheMarket.com, the much anticipated new property portal from Agents’ Mutual, finally launched on Monday, going live with simple, fast and state-of-the-art website that adapts seamlessly to fit the screen of any device being used to view it. Designed to disrupt the portal business and break the ‘duopoloy’ held by Rightmove and Zoopla, OnTheMarket, the new industry-owned portal, which only features properties marketed by high street agents but not those with an online-only presence, is causing quite a stir in the property market, with various arguments and legal threats already being made. OnTheMarket.com will aim to challenge the duopoly for the portal top spot while giving estate agents the opportunity to regain control of their online advertising costs. Ian Springett (left), Chief Executive of OnTheMarket.com, said, “We are proud to present OnTheMarket.com as a much-needed competitor in the online property search market. We have launched an outstanding website using the latest technologies which presents properties in the best possible light for consumers and avoids unnecessary clutter.” The new portal, solely owned by the agents that list on the website, with around 4,600 estate agency offices already signed up, has had a dramatic early impact on the market with its ‘one other…

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