This week sees the launch of the National Safe Agent Awareness Week, a simple yet effective consumer campaign that has gained unequivocal Government backing and support.
Safe Agent is an immediately recognisable ‘Kite mark’ to help consumers identify agents that subscribe to a Client Money Protection Scheme (CMPS). There are several schemes in the sector, usually administered by one of the industries different regulatory bodies. CMPS’s provide an insurance backing to protect ALL monies that an agent handles on behalf of ALL clients, including Landlords and Tenants. This should not to be confused with Tenancy Deposit Schemes, which merely provides legislation to help protect Tenants deposits.
Remarkably, there is currently no legislation in place that requires a prerequisite for an Agent to have any protection in place in order to trade as a Letting Agent. As members of RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) Lex Allan have always subscribed to a CMPS and as such supported Safe Agent since its inception in June 2011
Managing Director Lex Allan commented “We have always believed in professional accreditation; because of this we were one of the very first agents to join Safe Agent”
He further added “In the lettings sector we are committed to raising standards from within. A way to achieve this is to make consumers aware of the importance of choosing a letting agent who is part of an established CMPS which reimburses tenants and landlords in the event of misappropriation or fraudulent use of rent or deposits.”
The Government has recently recognised the value of Safe Agent and included reference to it in its Housing Strategy published in November of last year. They cited The Scheme as an excellent example of an industry initiative to raise consumer awareness and identify agents who can offer client money protection. The campaign has been welcomed by consumer groups such as Citizens Advice Bureaux, The Property Ombudsman, OFT and the Trading Standards Institute.