How safe is your agent?
I recently had a conversation with a potential landlord in my office, detailing the services we offer and what differentiates us from the throngs of agents lining both side of the street in Weston-super-Mare.
I casually mentioned our USP’s; “We’re a family run business, we have the backing of a national franchise and the help of their legal team and we’re members of SAFEagent, NALS and regulated by the property ombudsman.” Just a few accolades we’re proud of.
“Aren’t all lettings agents regulated?” was the response accompanying the bemused and concerned face of the landlord. This landlord, like many others, was unaware that there is no legal requirement to be regulated within the lettings industry. This means there is no reassurance for landlords or tenants that their money is safe.
Perhaps here was an under-utilized marketing tool for agents, or a safety net landlords aren’t using. Landlords are keen to check their tenants before accepting them (or so they should, I’m praying the number of landlords who accept rogue tenants is ever reducing with a greater awareness of the importance of referencing) so why would you use an agent without the security of a redress scheme or client money protection? The safe agent logo should act as a sign to landlords that this is a trusted agent, a reference insomuch as they scrutinised and approved by SAFEagent themselves.
So why do so many agents not subscribe to these schemes? Time? Effort? Why bother when landlords never ask anyway?
We annually have to submit our professional indemnity insurance to SAFEagent, along with our accounts demonstrating we adhere to their standard for client money, details of our complaints procedure and our membership to the property ombudsman. Granted, yes, this is time consuming organising the documentation, but the benefit of the recognition that we are a quality agent is priceless.
It is essential landlords check if their chosen agent is regulated and has client money protection. Without which they could be left vulnerable if their agent chooses to leave with their money. If you aren’t using a SAFEagent you could be facilitating a 2 week holiday in Dubai for the less scrupulous amongst us. Ask why? Why have they chosen not to join the scheme? Landlords should demand the quality of service SAFEagents offer.
On the other hand, we recently won an instruction for a managed property when a landlord was impressed that we were members of the redress scheme. We are proud of our status as a SAFEagent and if it wins us one instruction then it’s definitely worth it, hopefully if landlords are educated in the dangers of rogue agents then they will demand SAFEagent status to be a standard within the industry.
- Would you use an agent who wasn’t part of SAFEagent?
- Do you have any horror stories?
This safe agent week let’s make landlords and tenants aware of the importance of that logo when choosing an agent. After all you wouldn’t give your money to a stranger and expect them to look after it, so why should an unregulated agent?
Find your local SAFEagent here and Support your local agent, helping force rogue agents from the industry, driving up standards and insuring property is professional.
Many thanks to
@BelvoirWestonSM (a registered LRS letting agent) for allowing us to share this blog with the LRS community.
Find SAFEagent on :
Twitter : @SAFEagent
Facebook : SAFEagent
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