Norwich estate agents reverses campaign to put “let by” boards in front of tenants’ homes

Haart blamed an "over-enthusaistic" employee for the letters.

Haart blamed an "over-enthusaistic" employee for the letters. - Credit: Archant

A Norwich estate agents has reversed a campaign to put 'let by' boards in front of tenants' homes.

A lettings assistant at Haart Lettings on Queen Street sent out a letter to tenanted households in Norwich saying that 'Let By' boards would be put up at their properties for two weeks as part of a 'campaign'.

Such action is legal but is considered to be against agency best practice and frowned upon in the industry.

Andrew Benn, managing director of Haart Lettings, was quoted on Property Industry Eye saying the activity was that of 'an over-enthusiastic lettings administrator' who he said was acting without head office's knowledge.

He said the action in Norwich, which was meant to start on November 2, according to the letter, 'had been stopped' and it would not happen again.

Another lettings agent in the city, Mike White from Martin & Co, said he had not heard of agents sending out letters telling tenants boards would go up as part of a campaign before.

'We at Martin & Co ask a tenant on renewal of a tenancy agreement if we can put up a board and we think this is ethical. Agents do like to put up Let By boards of course because it is a cheap form of advertising - the psychology behind it is that people will drive and walk past a board and get a drip feed effect, they will say that's a good agent, I'll use them.

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'The agent has only had to spend about £6 - the cost of a board - for two weeks advertising.'

Mr White said agents were forced to use less ethical measures because of the drastic shortage of stock and stiff competition from more lettings agents opening in the city. 'It's been a horrible year,' he said.

'People in rented properties really want to buy their own home so they are staying longer in existing tenancies in order to save up and also it costs a lot to move. There is also a lot of competition especially in Norwich where the standard of lettings properties has improved immeasurably and a lot more agencies are opening up.'

No one was available for comment this morning from Haart Lettings.