LETTING & ESTATE AGENT

Twenty five prosecutions of agents by one council over boards

Twenty five prosecutions of agents by one council over boards

There have been 25 successful prosecutions of estate agents for illegal ‘For Sale’ signs in one London borough over the last 18 months.

The agents have been flouting a ban by erecting the boards in protected conservation areas in Hammersmith & Fulham.

Boards are banned in seven designated designated parts of the borough. The council says it brought in the ban at the request of local residents, in areas where it says there was historically a problem with estate agents competing to see who could put up most boards – especially in roads where large Victorian houses have been converted into flats.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council has a 100% success rate in prosecuting estate agents, with fines ranging from £500 to £3,500.

The majority of agents have been prosecuted once and then comply with the ban. However, Barnard Marcus has received a £2,000 fine plus costs on two occasions this year because the district judge took into account previous prosecutions for the company.

The most recent case was against Marsh and Parsons, fined £1,000 for an illegal board in Richmond Way.

Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, cabinet member for transport and technical services, said: “This borough is lucky enough to have several conservation areas that each have their own individual charm and heritage.

“Our residents do not expect estate agents to denigrate these areas of undoubted beauty with multiple unattractive signs.

“Estate agents who show no respect to the wishes of the vast majority of local people by continuing to erect these signs in conservation zones will be pursued by the council through the courts.”

Last year the government approved a ten-year extension of the board ban covering conservation areas in Hammersmith and West Kensington. Agents can only erect boards if they get express consent from the council.

The ban on agents’ boards is the longest ever approved in the UK. Local residents are encouraged to report illegal boards by emailing their location to a special email address.