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Sep 5 2014

5th September 2014 - Rolfe East Property Column

An Inspector Calls

As you may be aware - but more than likely not - the legislation that governs estate agents ‘For Sale’ and To Let’ boards, their size and where and when they can be placed etc., is the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 2007 plus the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Wake up at the back!

The fact is these boards can be a bugbear for some and strong rules are needed as they must be managed sensibly – because they can be unsightly if not erected and placed properly and it is a fact that there are irresponsible agents who take advantage and use them for free and unscrupulous advertising. Another fact is Rolfe East never engages in this nefariousness!

It was, therefore, rather a surprise when the ‘Board Police’ - in the guise of an Inspector from Trading Standards - came calling with a briefcase at our Ealing Branch recently to quiz us over ‘dodgy dealings’, in the form of an allegation of a rogue Rolfe East board outside a local block of flats.

The Trading Standards detective adopted the regulation bad cop approach initially and sternly questioned the authenticity of the board being at the location and, furthermore, inferred that there had been previous visits by colleagues to follow up information and evidence of ‘false boards’ by us blighting the landscape.

However, he soon lightened up and changed to good cop, as I was able to prove by our records that it was a genuine sale but that the board had simply been placed in genuine error at the wrong address and, with true apologies, was rectified immediately.

Whilst this episode is told tongue- in-cheek it is an important matter. The Inspector was just doing his job to check this practice, which is necessary and as it should be, and I was delighted to show him that we were usually as clean as a whistle but that mistakes can happen. He also found out that the last time the Trading Standards squad had paid a visit to conduct enquires was actually in 2003!

Now, you might want to find out who the offenders out there are for yourself that do carry out this practice - my lips are sealed! - but the verdict on us is we are an independent agency that operates with integrity and honesty and respect our local community and their property, m’lud!

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