The Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents (CIELA) says it has received so many expressions of interest and support that it has been unable to reply individually.
The aspiring new industry body has also said it no longer looks like being a club exclusively run by men – although only two out of 12 founders are set to be women – and that it could be the most powerful organisation the industry has yet known.
In a ‘round robin’, CEILA – the brainchild of industry software provider Charlie Wright – said: “Having initially received no applications from women owners of estate and letting agents, we have reserved two founder member positions for women.
“We’re delighted to say that we have now received many expressions of interest in becoming a founder member from women owners of a variety of impressive independent estate and letting agencies.
“We hope to have completed the provisional appointment of these two final founder members within a week or so.”
CIELA also says that it is not yet ready to deal with inquiries from agents hoping to become rank-and-file members, as it is concentrating on building its large and ambitious leadership structure, which consists of founders, plus regional and county or London borough officers.
Its email says that it plans to open the formal application process of appointing 12 regional officers in the next week.
It goes on: “Regional officers will hold the most significant positions in the organisation, given that they will have the dual responsibility of sitting on the national committee with founder members, debating and deciding on the future of the industry, as well as the local task of selecting and liaising with, on average, the six county (or London borough) officers within their region.”
The email goes on: “The debate continues around whether or not independent agents will unite in majority numbers to form an organisation with the teeth and resources to defend against, and compete better with, the large corporate companies in your sector.
“There is no doubt that if all independents united quickly, you would have working for you by far the most powerful organisation your industry has ever known.
“At a local level CIELA acknowledges that it is other independents who are your fiercest competition. Competing with your local independent competitors is something that will always happen, and that’s a good thing for the public as you all continue to improve your services.
“It is CIELA policy that none of our activities will either advantage or disadvantage any member against any other. This would create unacceptable divisions within the organisation.
“But where you are all united is against the common threat of corporate practice, whether in estate agency itself, from new online-only advertising services masquerading as estate agents, or other large corporate organisations trying to take control of your most valuable commodity, your customer information.
“CIELA believes that this last threat is the greatest and warns all independent agents to be ultra-cautious before entering into any agreements with service providers who claim rights to your information in their contract small print.
“CIELA’s stated aim is to help its members take ownership of the future of their business and their industry, by providing you with a collective public voice, advice on how to avoid being exploited by your suppliers, and an easy way for you to maximise the income opportunities you have in the customer information you store.”