Estate agents, Hunters, who has over 150 independently owned branches, is participating in SAFEagent Awareness Week 2015, running until June 5.
The event will see over 3,000 lettings agents unite across the UK for what will be the 4th annual initiative that looks to drive awareness amongst consumers of the importance of choosing a lettings and management agent who is part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme.
The timing for the event is auspicious as from last Wednesday, all lettings and management firms are required to display their fees and charges to landlords and tenants as well as displaying whether or not they are part of a CMP Scheme.
Glynis Frew, managing director of Hunters, is proud to be on the Steering Committee for SAFEagent, who recently wrote to the Housing Minister regarding the aforementioned amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill.
Glynis said: “As founding members of SAFEagent, Hunters are delighted to see the industry coming together as a united community to support this initiative.
“It is imperative that we as agents protect both tenants and landlords and for this reason we always advise clients to ask agents they are dealing with whether they are part of a CMP scheme.
“By helping to raise awareness of the SAFEagent campaign this week we hope to encourage landlords and tenants to make a safe, informed choice when choosing future agents.”
Tenant protection has returned to the media spotlight in the wake of a few high profile instances where lettings agents misused funds. Despite this, SAFEagent feels that it is still not well known that consumers’ finances are at risk if their chosen agent does not subscribe to a CMP scheme.
“There are still too many people who are not aware of the potential pitfalls of choosing an agent who doesn’t have CMP”, said John Midgley, chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group.
Mr Midgely maintains that whilst awareness of the SAFEagent mark is increasing, consumers are not always aware that if an agent were to abscond with a landlord or tenant’s money there would be little chance of retrieving those funds without CMP in place. As a result, Midgely feels consumers are still not always asking the right questions at the onset.
He added: “Whilst the last few years have seen the Government move to tighten regulations around letting agents, it is also important that tenants and landlords understand that the right to redress only goes so far, and they need to choose wisely by asking a few simple questions. It can make all the difference”.
“As it stands we welcome the requirement for all agents to display whether or not they are part of a CMP scheme but we want to see inclusion in such a scheme a mandatory requirement for all agents.”
Tenants and landlords / consumers are encouraged to go on-line and check out www.safeagents.co.uk to find an agent in their area.
SAFEagent advises to always look for the SAFEagent mark, an easily identifiable consumer mark denoting agents subscribed to a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme.