OnTheMarket asked whether it will accept agents working from home

OnTheMarket has attempted to clear up the ongoing confusion as to whether or not it will accept agents who work away from the high street.

It has said agents must be office-based, although not necessarily in the high street.

However, OTM has still not made it clear whether agents who work from home are eligible to belong.

The issue arose earlier this week when Cornish agent Chris Wood announced that he was shutting his high street premises and would be working from home, operating a hybrid model. He will remain on OnTheMarket, where he has a free trial.

However, our story puzzled some agents who say they have been turned away from OTM in the days since our story appeared.

One told us: “I saw your piece. [But] when I called them, they say nothing has changed, so I must say I am confused.

“We are an agency who are 16 years old, managing property, belonging to UKALA, TPO, etc, and using Rightmove and Zoopla.

“Maybe not all of the OTM staff have been briefed on a change of policy.”

Other agents posted on our story to say they had been told that they could not register for membership, because they were told that OTM does not accept agents operating out of residential properties.

A spokesperson for OTM told us yesterday: “The initial membership rules of Agents’ Mutual specified that members must be estate or lettings agents offering full-service, office-based agency.

“Following Admission [to the stock market last February], the company also accepts listings from full-service agents which do not necessarily operate high street branches.

“We have a range of eligibility criteria and we assess every agent’s application to list at OnTheMarket.com on a case-by-case basis.

“If any agents have any queries on this matter, they should address them directly with OnTheMarket.”

Pressed by EYE to say whether agents working from home are eligible, the spokesperson said they would not be commenting further.

The issue may not have gone away, however, with The Property Franchise Group revealing that membership of its EweMove agents –many of whom do work from home – is due to be reviewed by OTM this summer.

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20 Comments

  1. GPL

     

    Rock & hard place?

     

     

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  2. Chris Wood

    Define ‘office’.

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    1. bridget

      I was told on Tuesday when I queried it that it had to be a commercial not a residential address and that was their criteria. Surely it cannot be that hard for them to define an actual criteria instead of keep saying to PIE is on a case by case basis when to the agents calling they say no unless it is a commercial office (although now not a high street shop).

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      1. Chris Wood

        Define ‘commercial premises’. I’m not being flippant, just illustrating how difficult it is to implement such a ‘rule’. If part of a residential address is used for commercial activity etc. etc.

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        1. bridget

          I am not doing the defining, I am just saying what they told me. I asked if I would be eligible now to join if I wanted to, as I wasn’t initially under their rules, and they categorically told me that no I couldn’t as I did not have a commercial property ( I would guess that would be defined by paying business rates and not home council tax – I am not sure how they define it). It therefore makes no sense that you would be allowed by them to work from ‘home’ unless by their definition your home is some sort of ‘commercial’ premises different from mine, or many of the other posters who said they were turned down also when enquiring.  

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          1. AgencyInsider

            For tax purposes HMRC recognises the use of a room in a residential home as an office. Why can’t OTM?

             

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            1. bridget

              OK, well as of 2 minutes ago their definition has still not changed and it is apparently a permanent address on ‘commercial’ premises. A residential address is not acceptable even it is registered as your business address. It has to be a commercial premises separate from your home address.  They were quite clear on that.

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            2. Chris Wood

              Exactly. OTM (and other portals) set rules that contain words which have specific definitions in law or, are open to interpretation.

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    2. Keyser Söze

      Their original definition was commercial or residential premises that a customer could directly walk into off the street.

      I assumed this was the way to stop the likes of Purplebricks/EweMove homeworkers from signing up. Also any other hybrids who have business park premises which you can’t walk directly into.

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  3. AgencyInsider

    Another example of OTM ducking giving a straightforward and simple answer, with the usual ‘won’t be commenting further’ tacked on the end.

    As for assessing on a ‘case by case basis’ – that smacks of ‘If we like the look of you we’ll take you, if we don’t we won’t.’

    All looks a bit shifty and evasive. Not clever.

    They should make clear rules and publish them, then everyone knows where they stand. Including OTM.

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    1. smile please

      You beat me to it. Yet more smoke and mirrors from OTM

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  4. ArthurHouse02

    Its only a matter of time until you know who is advertising on there

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  5. MrsC

    And this, in my opinion, is why OTM will never trump and come up tops. Dont know their a**e from their elbow.

    If they like you, they will take you. If they don’t. they won’t. Its like a school, if you fit the bill, you can be part of the “club”.

    Shafting agents on one hand and then showering people with incentives and free trials on the other.

     

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  6. Woodentop

    Foolish, very foolish. Created a rod for themselves, when is it and when isn’t it full service? Think LPE! There are going to be some very disgruntled agents who joined because of what OTM was supposed to be about and those that they continue to turn away who feel aggrieved when they see some that are accepted. I would even go so far as to say OTM are in breach of contract to all its agents who joined ……….  
     
    It was a very simple rule. Intended for High Street Agency.
     
    Springet & Co have stolen OTM. No faith and need to be sacked asap.

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    1. Anthonyw

      Woodentop, 100% agree.

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  7. SJEA

    Personally, I think all agents offering FULL SERVICE to their clients should be allowed to advertise on OTM. As an original Gold member, the original purpose of OTM was to break the duopoly of Z & RM and to ensure the advertising rate increases remained reasonable.

    The dominance of these two portals can only be broken when New Homes (I mentioned this to Ian Springett during the initial meetings) and ALL agents can be allowed to advertise and then OTM becomes the first port of call for all enquirers.

     

     

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  8. GPL

     

    At least OTM provide consistency.

    Under their OTM V1/Agents Mutual guise they didn’t really engage with their Members, they successfully brought V1 to a shuddering halt with their inaction/poor decision making and personal/private club agenda.

    ……and so, we endure OTMV2 …..demonstrating many of the same failings and of course failing to engage with their Subscribers.

    I’ll paint this Picture for Clarity….. the Estate Agency & Letting Industry, by & large very willing to step forward with OTM after the systematic kicking by Rightmove ……all it needs is OTM to assemble themselves around the GIANT Light Bulb that is Our Industry! …..but no, they (OTM Management) stand there twitching, staring up, fumbling away …….completely unable to screw said GIANT Light Bulb in and ILLUMINATE OUR INDUSTRY!

    It simply defies the Law of Simplicity – “How would you like your Property Industry served Sir/Madam” ……..Uummmm?! Well??? Ahem!?

    FFS OTM get a grip! Earn your Millionaire Status by delivering rather than just stumbling about in the dark!!!

     

     

     

     

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  9. Thinker89

    We had a shop front when we joined OTM but due to dispute with our landlord we moved out and are temporarily in a local business centre in teh same street until we can rent new premises.

    OTM have removed our listings as we can’t provide evidence of street front branding.

    We aren’t purple bricks, we are still a full service estate agency with higher fees and higher service levels on average than the local high street competition.

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  10. J1

    This lot are complete amateurs in my view. Having avoided their freeby for a while now (for reasons that I will not go into just yet) today their rep essentially called me an idiot!!! I might be an idiot, but it is not up to a begging supplier of a faltering concept to tell me.

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  11. 1TB

    OTM are a complete joke.  Why on earth would any business their right mind turn away an estate agent offering a full service.  Why the hell does it make a difference if they are based in a shop on a high street, or in the basement of a flat.  Full service is full service.  Yet again, OTM are showing what a joke they are.

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