In life most people agree that you get what you pay for – except in property. Here everyone seems to think that ‘all agents’ are the same, everyone ‘pays cash’ and avoids VAT when carrying out property projects and that somehow most of the property industry is in ‘cahoots’ to do consumers out of a deal.
Now it’s true there are people and businesses that prey on those that think like this. They are the ones that end up on BBC’s Watchdog or on a different channel’s version of ‘Cowboy Builders’ or ‘Rogue Traders’. On a rare occasion they might actually get done by Trading Standards.
However the two main reasons bad guys in the industry exist is because bizarrely government policy supports property rogues and secondly, so do consumers!
Why government policy supports property rogues
On the one hand in property there is a lot of regulation. There are planning regulations, building regulations and rules on renting and letting – so much so that if you rent a home in today’s market, there are over 100 rules your property must abide by before moving a tenant in.
However, there is little enforcement of these rules and rarely is there any consumer education or protection if things do go wrong.
As a result the property industry has to ‘self-regulate’. Unbelievably, despite the complex nature of renting and letting, no-one has to have any legal training to be a letting agent. They have to join a Property Ombudsman Scheme by law, but few local authorities are checking this happens, in Scotland the agent isn’t allowed to charge tenants any fees, but they are still getting away with it.
Worst still, despite the fact that letting agents can hold hundreds of thousands if not millions of pounds worth of tenant and landlord rent, they don’t actually require them to have any insurance should something go wrong either!
SAFEagent Awareness Week 2015 (June 1st – June 5th) will see over 3,000 professional lettings agents out of over 16,000 come together in the UK to drive awareness amongst landlords and tenants of why it is essential to choose a lettings/management agent who has a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme.
Some agents aren’t even aware, but only at the end of May were they legally 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.
Landlords and tenants – don’t trust agents unless they are ARLA, RICs or NALs registered!
And you can help too by making sure that you don’t rent from or let through an agent that isn’t part of the SAFEagent Scheme and only use ones with Client Money Protection.
Check your agent is part of the SAFEagent scheme – it takes seconds:-
Visit: www.safeagents.co.uk to find an agent in your location and look for the SAFEagent mark.
Don’t forget to our SAFEagent checklist….and how to choose an agent and quick guide to buy to let.
Bad agents only exist because we continue to use them, so stop today and within a matter of weeks, landlords will have moved their properties to the ‘good guys’ in the industry that offer a better service than the law requires to tenants and landlords.