This week, 1st – 5th June is SAFEagent Awareness Week. Letting and estate agents up and down the country have been helping raise awareness of this important campaign by displaying balloons, baking cakes and Tweeting about the benefits of the SAFEagent scheme.
Essentially SAFE (Safe Agent Fully Endorsed) agent is a Government supported mark that shows an agent uses a Client Money Protection scheme. In 2011 Belvoir were one of the agents who campaigned for greater consumer protection in the Private Rented Sector and helped to found SAFEagent.
The timing of SAFEagent awareness week this year is significant and appropriate; as of 27th May 2015 under the Consumer Rights Act, it will become a requirement for all agents to display details of fees and charges in their offices and on their website. They must also state whether or not they are part of a Client Money Protection Scheme and which redress scheme they use.
If you see the SAFEagent logo on a letting agent’s website, premises or literature it means that they use a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme. There are several schemes available from independent professional bodies including ARLA, NAEA, the Law Society, Safeagent and RICS. Belvoir Cambridge and Peterborough use the ARLA CMP scheme.
These Client Money Protection schemes are run by recognised industry bodies or organisations operating in the private rented sector to provide accreditation and/or regulation. They are completely independent from the letting agent and they do not act on behalf of, or have a duty of care to the participating firm.
It is not a legal requirement for letting agents to belong to such a scheme, therefore a SAFEagent mark is also a mark of the company’s integrity and desire to protect the client.
All agents who are part of ARLA, the Law Society, Safeagent, RICS and UKALA maintain and operate separate designated client accounts where your money is held completely separate from the operating funds of the firm.
Organisations such as ARLA and Safeagent require their members to have:
- professional indemnity insurance
- defined accounting standards relating to clients money
- a customer complaints procedure
- membership of an ombudsman scheme
All of the above are of benefit to the consumer as they provide independent, professional conflict resolution and professional standards and procedures for handling client money.
Belvoir are proud to be a founding member of the SAFEagent campaign; we recognise the importance of protecting consumer finances so that you feel secure when making a payment and we remain a trusted agent.
Next time you are considering using a Letting or Estate Agent, look for the blue SAFE sign in the window or on their website so you can use their services in confidence, knowing your money is protected.