Huge fines for London estate agents caught fly boarding

Two London estate agents pleaded guilty to fly boarding offences (also known as “hoax boarding”) and were given substantial fines at Thames Magistrates Court on Friday 15 February 2008.

Keatons Estate Agents Limited based on Mile End Road, London E3 was fined £19,200 and ordered to pay costs of £1,573 for putting five ‘Sold’ and four ‘To Let’ signs on properties in seven different streets in Hackney, when there were no instructions from the owners to do so.

Robert Alan Homes, which has an office on Victoria Park Road, London E8 was fined £7,500 for five fly boarding offences. Four For Sale and one To Let boards were placed on properties, not at the owners request. The company was also ordered to pay costs of £2,000.

Cllr Alan Laing, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods said: “Estate agents in other parts of London and the UK should take notice of these prosecutions. Plastering streets with ‘To Let’ and ‘Sold’ signs when there are no instructions to do so is blatant false advertising and environmental vandalism, which will not be tolerated.

“Hopefully these prosecutions will start to put an end to the blight of the estate agents boards. If estate agents wish to advertise themselves there are legitimate ways to do so. If they fail to clean up their acts, a bylaw will be introduced to put an end to all advertising boards on properties.”

Hackney Trading Standards took its first fly boarding case to court last November. Sovereign Estates Ltd Estate Agency, based at 223 Victoria Park Road, London E9 7HD was fined £1,600, plus £1,500 costs at Thames Magistrates Court on 30th November 2007. They had put a ‘Sold’ and ‘To Let’ sign on a property on Milborne Street, London E9, without being asked to do so by the owner.

Further cases are expected to go to court in the coming months, as Hackney Trading Standards continue to crack down on estate agents who use boards for false advertising.

Fly boarding offences are covered by section 13 of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968.

For further information contact Hackney Trading Standards on 020 8356 4929.