Estate agents to stop listing on PropertyPal

1 month ago 27

PropertyPal logo imposed on image of houses in Belfast

Image caption,

PropertyPal is the largest property website in Northern Ireland for sales and rentals

A group of estate agents have said they will stop posting listings on the website PropertyPal from midnight tonight amid a row over fees.

Its comes as PropertyPal has announced a new system for charging for listings.

PropertyPal is the largest property website in Northern Ireland for sales and rentals.

The company said the decision to increase 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, seen by BBC News NI, 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.

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

Mr 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."

On its website, PropertyPal claims to host listings for more than 60,000 properties for sale and rent in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Image source, Stephen McCarron

Image caption,

Estate Agent Stephen McCarron said any price increase from PropertyPal would be passed on to clients

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.

Mr 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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