According to recent research, the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), is the best known to landlords of the agency bodies and only a handful have ever heard of SAFEagent.
The large-scale, independent research, conducted by The Property Academy, asked if landlords were aware of their agent being a member of various professional bodies.
There were over 5,500 responses in total and the most well known by far was ARLA, with 47% of landlords saying they were aware that their agent was a member. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (13.5%), Property Ombudsman (12.6%) and National Approved Lettings Scheme (12.4%) were much less well known and just under 4% of landlords were aware of their agent being a member of SAFEagent.
A worrying four in ten (38%) of the survey respondents did not know if their agent belonged to any of the above mentioned agency bodies, and therefore cannot have known if their agent has Client Money Protection insurance (CMP) in place. The survey also revealed that 17.5% of tenants do not know who holds their deposit.
Says Leaders’ Crawley senior lettings consultant, Neil Simmons: “This research clearly demonstrates the urgent need for awareness among landlords and tenants about using an agent who ring-fences client money, complies with the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme and who also has Client Money Protection insurance.
“As members of SAFEagent, we took part in the SAFEagent awareness week in May to make landlords and tenants aware of the importance of using an agent that protects clients’ money. However, the public should also be aware that choosing a trustworthy letting agent is about more than just CMP. A good letting agent should also be experienced, knowledgeable, impartial and competent to let and manage property with a thorough understanding of the complex legislation surrounding letting.
“Agents who don’t know what they are doing can have worrying consequences for landlords, including huge legal expenses, loss of rent, financial penalties and even custodial sentences for not complying with legislation. For tenants it can literally be a matter of life and death if legislation regarding the safety of the property and its contents is not complied with, for example gas, electrical and fire safety regulations. That’s why you should only use an agent that is a member of a professional body such as ARLA or RICS.”
Leaders are members of ARLA and SAFEAgent, and have more than 29 years experience specialising in residential lettings. For advice you can trust on all aspects of renting or letting in Crawley please contact Leaders on 01293 553889 or email firstname.lastname@example.org