Estate Agents Stop Listings On Major Property Portal In A Row Over Fees

A prominent group of estate agents have stopped posting listings on the website PropertyPal in a row over fees.

The decision to pull listings last night came after PropertyPal announced it had a new system for charging for listings.

PropertyPal, which is the largest property website in Northern Ireland for sales and rentals, said the decision to hike fees was “aimed at delivering enhanced value and services”.

In a statement to BBC News NI, Errol Maxwell, chief executive officer at PropertyPal, said the company “takes pride in offering the most competitive pricing of any property portal in the UK and Ireland”.

The intention of some estate agents to stop listings on the site was communicated in a letter sent on behalf of a steering group representing agents from across Northern Ireland.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Stephen McCarron, an estate agent based in Londonderry, said agents felt “coerced and bullied”.

He said that under the new system estate agents could expect to pay 25-45% more per listing on the PropertyPal website.

The steering group is made up of several of the largest property retailers in Northern Ireland including CPS, Simon Brien, UPS, Reeds Rains, and Donnybrook.

In the letter the estate agents said they feel they “have no alternative but to take drastic action”.

“As such we need to inform you of our collective intention to cease placing any new listings on the PropertyPal platform from midnight on Thursday 29th February, until further notice,” the letter continued.

McCarron said that his group felt that PropertyPal were using their “dominate market position” to force estate agents into accepting their terms.

Maxwell said PropertyPal’s “new membership plan allows estate agents to advertise all their properties for an average of £20 per listing and provides them with a powerful suite of new tools to support their business”.

He added: “We’re delighted that the majority of estate agents have embraced the change and recognise the significant value it brings to their partnership with us.”

It is understood the proposed changes to the pricing structure would move from a set fee per listing to a membership-type scheme with different tiers.

McCarron said estate agents would have to pass on any costs to their clients, which he said was “really unfair on the consumer”.

He said the changes were made with “zero consultation” with estate agents and a “refusal to meet with our steering group or acknowledge the very real concerns that we have”.

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