Property Week campaign win prompts DTI action

Property Week has claimed credit persuading the Government to introduce a new bill to regulate estate agents.

After an eight-week campaign launched in April, DTI minister Ian McCartney told the CMPi weekly the commercial property industry that he would be publishing a consumer bill this autumn. It would give consumers automatic redress if they are ripped by estate agents.

McCartney also pledged to force estate agents to keep "adequate" records of their dealings with the public to assist Office of Fair Trading investigations into rogue agents. Currently there is such regulation in the private property sector.

Property Week launched its "Regulate Resi Now" campaign after its readers, who are primarily involved with nonresidential property, voiced concern about being associated with malpractice among agents buying and selling homes.

Editor Giles Barrie said: " Our readers' real anxiety is that the reputation the home-buying world is a stain on the whole property buying community. Not many business-to-business magazines can claim to help the wider public, but we are proud to have done so through our campaign. This shows that titles such as Property Week can have real influence outside their own fields — they set their sights high enough."

Property Week introduced a new section on the private property market 18 months ago called Residential and Regeneration, and the editor said the campaign had helped build the title's profile in the private sector.

The campaign was maintained on a daily basis through propertyweek.com and Barrie said the response via the website was higher than via the print product for the first time.

Property Week has previously twice successfully campaigned for government U-turns on tax, and campaigned for a Treasury bill that allowed the public better access to buy into the commercial world. The title has an ABC average net circulation of 27,619.

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