As we move toward spring with a continually gloomy economy, it’s time for another reminder of the rules and regulations regarding estate agency boards. Moving into the high time for sales and lettings, I am once again seeing the proliferation of boards in a manner that contravenes the rules and aesthetics.

Even in good markets there are too many agents plastering neighbourhoods and properties with boards in an attempt to attract new business. With the market still in rough shape, the practice has once again gotten out of hand.

It must stop.

Instead of touting and lecturing on the regulations, I want to approach the subject with a reality check instead. Yes – plastering the town with sales boards does get your name noticed by passersby. But these types of marketing practice will never be a substitute for quality, knowledgeable sales experience. In my opinion, if an agency is willing to disregard the regulations on sales boards, what other rules will it bypass? Likely, the agent or agency won’t feel obliged to follow the rules that protect you – the seller or buyer.

The size of boards is specifically regulated. As a potential client, if you see an agency board that is larger than the rest, you can safely assume that the agent is not in compliance and you should ask yourself whether you can really trust them to serve your best interests.

Another often disregarded rule is that boards must come down within two weeks of completion of the sale or let. Unfortunately for consumers, this is difficult to discern with a glance. A good rule of thumb is, when calling on a property, if you are advised the property has been sold or let, ask when the transaction was complete. Often agents will disregard the law and use the existing board to market other properties they have from the enquiries. If the agent or manager is not in compliance, avoid them for future calls.