Be safe - choose a SAFEagent
SAFEagent registered letting agents across the UK are this week taking part in the first annual National SAFEagent Awareness Week (14 – 20 May).
National SAFEagent Awareness Week has been launched in a bid to drive public awareness of the importance of choosing a lettings agency covered by a Client Money Protection Scheme. That means that deposits and rentals are covered by insurance and will be refunded in the event of an agent going out of business or misappropriating client funds. It follows in the wake of high profile news coverage where consumers have lost monies to rogue agents who have absconded with money from their client account.
The message is simple! Be SAFE – choose a SAFEagent from the growing list of professional firms who are placing hundreds of tenants into rental property each year, and sleep easy in the knowledge that your rental funds and tenancy deposits have complete protection.
A reception took place at the House of Commons on 15 May as part Awareness Week. Interviews held at the event can be seen at http://youtu.be/ZpDfeUxqYgU.
The Government’s support for SAFEagent continues and last year included it in its Housing Strategy for England.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps MP said:
"The private rented sector provides accommodation for over three million people in England, and the vast majority of them are happy with the service they receive. But it's important to ensure that both landlords and tenants are protected if the worst should happen. SAFEagent's kitemark service is helping thousands of people to choose the right letting agent for them, and I would encourage everyone in the sector get involved in SAFEagent Awareness Week to ensure their clients are fully aware of their rights and protections."
John Midgley, Chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group and Managing Director of Touchstone, a SAFEagent founder member, said:
“With the recent predictions in the increase of families and individuals renting – never has it been more important to ensure that those in rented accommodation are protected. Dishonest letting agents are, fortunately, not the norm within the industry but they are out there. Client Money Protection Schemes were designed to protect landlords and tenants against financial loss, but the number of cases of rogue agents has risen and has led us to the conclusion that too few people are aware of money protection schemes.
“The aim of SAFEagent Awareness Week is to raise the public’s understanding of what Client Money Protection Schemes are and what they stand to lose if their agent is not part of one. I would urge all landlords and tenants to ‘play it safe’ and choose a SAFEagent.”
Approaching 2,000 letting agents have now signed up to SAFEagent. In addition to Government support, key organizations in the industry including Citizens Advice Bureau, Shelter, Crisis, The Property Ombudsman, National Union of Students, My Deposits, OFT and the Trading Standards Institute have all allied themselves to the campaign. Key suppliers to the sector are also standing behind the campaign – for example, HomeLet and CFP Winman have led the way in pledging their backing to it.
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