The industry’s two biggest awards schemes and their fantastically successful bashes are no more.
Both the Estate Agency of the Year and Lettings Agency of the Year have been held for the last time, it is disclosed this morning.
They have finished after nearly 15 years, at the peak of their success, with backers including The Times, Sunday Times and Zoopla.
Memorable hosts have included TV stars and sports legends, while the venues and the events themselves simply grew in size and popularity.
Organiser Peter Knight said that one factor in his decision to shelve both events was the enormous number of awards handed out in other schemes, often without “any real” scrutiny”.
In an exclusive interview with EYE, Knight, founder of Estate Agency Events, has told why he has decided to call time on the most prestigious awards in the industry.
He said: “I set up the awards almost 15 years ago in response to reading yet another damning piece about estate agents in the Daily Mail. I felt it was time to redress the balance and provide a platform for the best performing agents to demonstrate their achievements.
“Back in 2002, there were no awards and no review sites for the property industry.
“Whilst others have followed, there is no doubt in my mind that our trail-blazing awards have delivered the most significant benefits – both to those taking part and to the industry as a whole – helping to raise standards and promote excellence.
“The judges have assessed over 6,000 estate and lettings agencies, many a dozen times or more, and have carried out 1,400 days of interviews. This year alone, there were over 1,000 mystery shops.
“The current and past winners can be extremely proud of their achievements. No other awards have been so sought after, so valuable and so hard to win.”
So why end them now?
Knight said: “There are many factors driving the decision. The huge number of other awards now being given out to agents, some without any real examination, is one factor.
“Another is the fact that whilst thousands of agents put themselves forward for scrutiny by entering the most testing examination in the industry, many thousands more do not. I feel the time has come for a complete rethink.”
Knight was at pains to thank the supporters of the events.
He said: “One thing I want to particularly emphasise today is that the biggest and most prestigious awards in the industry could not have been staged without the support of many people, and in particular I’d like to thank News UK, owners of the Sunday Times and The Times, for their association for almost a decade, and also ZPG, who have been fantastic headline sponsors for the last six years.
“Other industry-leading firms have also consistently supported the awards, including Reapit, Ravensworth, LetMC, Moneypenny, Iamsold, Callwell, Metropix, Legal for Landlords, Van Mildert, Audio Agent, Brief Your Market, Qube, the TM Group and many more.
“I’d also like to thank Property Industry Eye for being the trade media partners.
“Finally, I congratulate all those agents that put themselves up for scrutiny by entering.
“That said, it’s time to shake things up and I’ll be announcing an ambitious and completely new initiative in the next few weeks.”