The estate agent at the centre of a Coronavirus property viewings furore in Somerset has told The Negotiator that he has not been taking potential buyers to homes that are occupied.
Last week we reported that agent Ashley Leahy had been accused of offering accompanied viewings at occupied properties, and promoting multiple properties that had been sold recently despite the lockdown.
Leahy has claimed that like other agents in the area he has been visiting empty properties to complete photography, and has shown The Negotiator Rightmove data that reveals 128 properties have been added to Rightmove’s listings over the past 14 days by multiple agents in the area. He says that many of these properties appear to have been visited by a professional photographer.
“I would just love to know what my boundaries are. I am not interested in pointing the finger at any particular agents,” he says. “Another grey area – if a house is empty – can I photograph that – can I let somebody in to see it if I stay in the car?”.
The Negotiator has been contacted by a member of the public who lives opposite a vendor who has a home listed with Ashley Leahy on Southside Crescent in Kewstoke (pictured). Retired policeman Steven Edwards says he saw potential buyers being shown around the property which, although it may have been vacated at the time, is usually occupied by a family.
We put Edwards’ comment to Leahy, who said Stevens’ recollection of the viewing were inaccurate, although in more colourful language.
As our original story highlighted last week, there are several holes in the government’s Coronavirus guidance that are large enough to enable agents to offer a limited viewings service should they wish. But in many areas this is angering local competitors who have decided to follow government guidance to the letter and protect the NHS.
Steven Edwards says his property is on the books of another agent in the town which is ‘quite rightly’ not allowing any viewings at the moment, and that he’s angered by Leahy’s approach.