Despite recent regulatory changes and industry initiatives there are still “too many” cases of criminal letting agents stealing landlord and tenant cash, says membership-based campaigning group SAFEagent.
The comments come as the organisation kicks off SAFEagent Awareness Week from 15th to 19th May which is designed to highlight to consumers the “importance of choosing a professional agent who is part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme run by a regulatory organisation”.
SAFEagent, which has 3,000 member agents across the UK and has been running for six years, recently won official backing for its ongoing client money protection campaign when in March this year the government said CMP would be made mandatory for all agents.
“While SAFEagent is delighted that the campaign has finally achieved its goal of mandatory CMP, it is not yet law,” a statement from the organisation says. “This still leaves consumers at risk if their chosen agent does not have client money protection.”
John Midgley, Chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group (pictured), says: “Choosing a letting agent without CMP in place therefore remains a massive risk for both landlords and tenants. We’ll continue to campaign, raising awareness among consumers of the importance of only using an agent with CMP.”
The most recent high-profile case involving deposits include a letting agent in Northern Ireland who was fined a total of £15,000 after initially being fined £9,435 after not lodging deposits with one of the three deposit protection services, and then failing to pay the fines.