Non-compete clause sees competitor move business to Brighton

Written by Kevin Murphy
9 August, 2023

In this case study, employment lawyer Kevin Murphy looks at a client case where a former employee set up a competing estate agency firm


Overview and Background

The client is a single office estate and lettings agent who specialises in high-value property. When issuing contracts the client required specific post-termination restrictions to protect their business. Although non-compete clauses are difficult to enforce the client was still keen to protect its place in the market, its team and its clients.


Client concerns and aims

A lettings agent left the employer and set up a competing company in the same area as the client. Our client was made aware that the ex-employee tried to contact some lettings clients to encourage them to use him as their agent.

Our client was concerned that their client base may be eroded and their share of the market reduced. They didn’t necessarily want to prevent him from working in the same area simply to stop direct contact with their clients and team.


What we did

We wrote to the ex-employee with a cease and desist letter.

We clearly evidenced the restrictions that he had agreed to. We provided evidence that he had contacted at least one lettings client.

We asked the ex-employee to provide an undertaking (a legal promise) not to contact any more of our clients customers or team. We also asked him to provide a list of all contacts he had made with our clients and team.
The cease and desist letter included a threat that legal proceedings would be commenced should he continue to breach the restrictions.


Outcome and benefits

The ex-employee apologised, signed the undertaking and provided a list of all contacts he made allowing our client to protect their client base and team.

The ex-employee closed his business, despite the fact that we did not ask him to do so. He relocated to Brighton to open his business there. Our client was able to continue their growth and developed their business and team in line with their plans and goals.


HR help and advice for your estate agency

If you are in the estate agency or lettings industry and want to ensure you have the right HR support who truly understands your business – please get in touch with the team who can carry out a free HR review and advice you on your HR headaches.

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