Lone Working in Estate Agency

Nearly one in three estate agents has been the victim of abuse whilst on viewings.

A dangerous sales job

Estate agents are at considerable risk of violence and aggression on a day-to-day basis, as they engage with the public in enclosed properties. Yet a recent survey carried out across 1,000 UK estate agents found that over half of them had no safety procedures in place to protect staff carrying out viewings or valuations alone.

  • 30% of the Estate Agents questioned had been the victims of verbal abuse
  • Almost a quarter felt their safety was being compromised
  • 53% didn’t have a lone worker policy in place
  • 16% had been intimidated
  • More than one in ten had been threatened while conducting viewings

Suzy Lamplugh

In 1986 Suzy Lamplugh, a 25 year old estate agent, disappeared after she went to meet an unknown client. She has been presumed murdered and was legally declared dead in 1993.

To date her body has not been found. Her parents, Paul and Diana Lamplugh, believed that Suzy, like most people at that time – and even now – was simply unaware of the possible dangers that individuals can face in society.

Paul and Diana founded the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to highlight the risks people face and to offer advice, action and support to minimise those risks.

Find out more about the Suzy Lamplugh Trust

Safety tips for female estate agents

Statistically, women are more at risk than men when it comes to workplace safety concerns. This risk is magnified by working alone: as estate agents frequently do while showing prospective buyers and renters around empty properties.

People often think that it’s not going to happen to them, or it wouldn’t happen in the area they work, but the truth is that it can happen to anyone at any time. Therefore, it’s essential for female estate agents to be as best prepared as possible:

  1. Trust your instincts – if something feels wrong, it probably is.
  2. Share your schedule – let somebody know where you are at all times and who you’ll be meeting.
  3. Trail behind – always let potential clients lead when walking through a property.
  4. Create a safety plan – implement practices to protect your personal safety (e.g. have a distress code).
  5. Take a self-defence class – don’t wait for an incident to happen to prioritise learning how to protect yourself.
“Our lone workers are at a degree of risk each time they show a prospective buyer around our new properties as they are out of sight of the rest of the team – and as many of our staff are female, the risks are obvious.”
David Smith, Sales Director, Persimmon Homes
“When considering the protection of our sales personnel we wanted to create a partnership whereby staff had the impetus and infrastructure to manage their safety.”
Karen Cullis, National Marketing Manager, Taylor Wimpey

Get in touch

To find out how Peoplesafe can help protect and support estate agency staff, please speak to one of our expert consultants
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