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Now homeowners won’t have to pay double commission thanks to landmark ruling

Now homeowners won’t have to pay double commission thanks to landmark ruling

  • George and Hilary Wood were charged commission by two estate agents
  • Many firms have clauses that state even with no sale, commission must be paid
  • But the Woods won their case against a property agent that took them to court 

A couple charged commission by two estate agents after selling their home have won an important battle for other property owners, experts say.

George and Hilary Wood were taken to the small claims court by original agent Palmer Snell for not paying £7,935 commission – although their home was sold by Fortnam Smith & Banwell. 

Many firms have a clause in their contract that states even if they do not make a sale, homeowners still pay commission.

But Palmer Snell’s claim was rejected by a judge last month, who cited the case Foxtons v Bicknell & Another, 2008, where the Court of Appeal ruled for an estate agent to claim commission it had to be involved in the sale, not just the introduction.

The buyer of the Woods’ Dorset home had seen it first on Palmer Snell’s website but could not proceed.

When the house was re-marketed by Fortnam Smith & Banwell at a lower price, they viewed, then bought it. 

Paula Higgins, HomeOwners Alliance chief executive, says: ‘This ruling is vitally important because it starts the debate over what is meant by ‘introduced’ and the issues that can – and should – render the clause void.’ 



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