A 28-year-old former estate agent has claimed over the weekend that the industry is overwhelmingly sexist and ‘lacking in morals’ and that the use of illegal drugs was common at her workplace.
Named as Caroline Rose, she claims to be a London-based former agent who left the industry three months ago and who is featured in a lengthy interview in The Sun newspaper.
In it she calls for the industry to change and claims that during her four years spent at several high-profile but unnamed estate agencies in South West London she witnessed the widespread taking of cocaine by estate agent colleagues, regularly heard sexist comments made and that female staff were paid less than their male counterparts.
This included being ordered to wear high heel shoes and a skirt, wear make-up, wear low-cut tops and that several women she worked with were unfairly dismissed for being of ‘child-bearing age’.
Rose also accuses her employer of encouraging the use of fake viewings and non-existent offers to keep vendors happy.
The article also claims that she was required to make 50 phone calls a day and book 35 viewings a week which, although it is reported as being unusual, is standard practice within a lot of busy sales agencies.
“Fake viewings were seen as a necessity to maintain client confidence, and clients were targeted for price reductions every week based on false feedback from made-up ‘buyers’,” she says.
The article also claims that the industry is ‘stuck in a time-warp’ because it is not regulated, but makes no mention of the looming ROPA proposals which will introduce, among other things, a minimum mandatory qualifications for front-line agents.
Industry commentator Henry Pryor has supported the agent’s expose, and said on Twitter yesterday that: “I know of three others who shared this experience; sadly this is not an isolated case”.
Read the Sun interview in full.