SAFEagent Awareness Week 13 - 18 May 2013

Letting agents unite to urge “generation rent” to protect their finances

A national campaign is calling for private landlords and tenants to make a stand against rogue letting agents by only choosing a local agent that offers financial protection.

SAFEagent Awareness Week runs 13 – 18 May and is a national campaign to highlight the importance of choosing a letting agent that offers financial protection through a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme. The recent move by Government to introduce secondary legislation making it mandatory for letting agents to belong to an ombudsman scheme will give landlords and tenants access to approved redress schemes but these do not cover financial recompense if landlords and tenants money is misappropriated.

The message from SAFEagent is that consumers’ finances are therefore still at risk if the agent does not subscribe to a Client Money Protection Scheme.

Over 2,000 letting agent offices, including 3 in Hinckley, have now signed up to the SAFEagent campaign to signpost their commitment to protecting landlords’ and tenants’ finances through CMP.

Clayton Foston of Belvoir Lettings Nuneaton and Hinckley says: “We have seen the financial nightmare it causes landlords and the distress to tenants when letting agents close without necessary financial protection having been put in place. We are proud that we take every measure to protect our clients’ funds and working with SAFEagent underlines our ongoing commitment to professionalism and industry standards.”

John Midgley, chair of the SAFEagent steering group said: “It’s time for tenants and landlords to really make informed choices when dealing with lettings and management agents. An estimated 40% of letting agents do not belong to a recognised body or scheme and meet no financial compliance requirements.

“You don’t have to take that gamble. By choosing a SAFEagent you can be certain that the letting agent is part of a CMP scheme underpinned by criteria that will ensure that your finances are safe no matter what.”

In addition to Government recognition, key organisations in the industry who support the SAFEagent campaign include Citizens Advice Bureau, Shelter, Crisis, Ombudsman Services: Property, The Property Ombudsman and Trading Standards Institute. Key suppliers to the sector are also standing behind the campaign – for example, HomeLet, Imfuna and CFPWinman have led the way in pledging their backing to it.

For more information about SAFEagent, visit www.safeagents.co.uk