The extent to which rogue estate agents are damaging the industry’s reputation has been laid bare today by new research.
The problems are most acute in the private rental sector,but affect all of it.
For example, 41% of tenants who used an ‘approved’ letting agent signed up to a professional body said problems with their property were fixed within a week, but only 25% of those used an ‘unapproved’ agent received the same service.
The research, which covers transactions over the past five years and was completed by Propertymark, highlights the most common problems tenants encounter including poor property management, the slow replacement of faulty furnishings and white goods, and a reluctance to return deposits fast enough.
Propertymark’s research also highlights a key challenge faced by the industry as a whole.
Rogue estate agents
Over a third of buyers and sellers, and 42% of renters don’t bother to check if the agent they are using has signed up to the key regulatory bodies or is a member of a professional organisation – leaving the door open for rogue estate agents.
This is creating significant problems for the industry’s reputation, the research shows. Over half of all the buyers, vendors and landlords canvassed experienced problems with the agent involved during the transaction.
Among renters, 14% assumed all agents were regulated as a matter of course and among the 55% who experienced problems with the agent letting and/or managing the property, nearly 60% hadn’t checked the agent’s status.
Half of all buyers and sellers don’t bother to check their agent’s credentials before using them and many, the research shows, then went on to experience problems including poor communication, an uncaring service and being put under pressure.
“The number of buyers, sellers and renters checking to see if their agent is regulated has improved since 2014, but it’s still worrying that so many people assume all agents are members of a professional body, such as Propertymark, and aren’t considering this when choosing an agent,” a joint statement by the NAEA’s Mark Hayward (left) and ARLA’s David Cox (below) says.
“It’s really important consumers look for the ‘Propertymark Protected’ logo when choosing an agent; it means they’re dealing with a professional who has opted for regulation in an unregulated sector and it will give them peace of mind that their money is protected.”