NOT all estate agents are currently required to meet standards of compliance within the industry.
This is particularly worrying to potential tenants and landlords who are unaware, unprotected and inexperienced in this often confusing market.
As a Member of The Guild of Professional Estate Agents, Newman Residential Lettings in Rugby say they offer trust and confidence to tenants and landlords in a market that isn’t regulated and where complaints are strongly on the increase.
The Guild currently has approximately 80 per cent of its members operating in lettings, which is a very lucrative area in the property industry right now, with the number of lettings agents in the UK expanding rapidly over the past three years due to a decline in property sales.
With rental properties in short supply it can be all too easy for an eager tenant to ‘snap up a bargain’ and not worry too much about the record of the agent and landlord.
Yet the Property Ombudsman recently reported that the number of claims involving lettings disputes has risen sharply.
Many first-time tenants and landlords are unaware that the rules and regulations surrounding rentals can be complicated and demanding - and if things go wrong for any reason, this can quickly lead to significant stress, financial penalties, and in the most extreme cases, escalate to legal proceedings.
Most tenants depend on their estate agent to protect their interests, which is similarly true for landlords.
However, it is not always transparent that a particular agent has the experience, moral compass, and fortitude to operate diligently and consistently.
Currently, agents involved in lettings only are not regulated by the 1979 Estate Agents Act – and many have been in the business for a relatively short time. There is no requirement for them to meet any standards of compliance nor is any accreditation qualification required.
Tenants may never actually meet the landlord, so it is therefore vital to work with an agent who can be trusted. Pam Wattam, as the lettings manager for Newman Residential Lettings recommends certain simple checks that can be performed:
Is the agent a member of a recognised tenancy deposit scheme? Does the agent ask for suitable references? Does the agent check that landlords have a suitable mortgage in place e.g. ‘buy to let’? Do the staff in the agency receive regular training? Does the agent regularly visit the properties in its rental portfolio to check everything is in order? Are the appropriate checks undertaken, such as gas safety at all the lettings properties? Are you clearly informed of your obligations, and the process and choices available should you have a problem? Is the paperwork clear, accurate, on time, and correct (including all contracts, and receipts for any cash/sums paid)? Is the agent part of a leading national network, such as ARLA, NALS, or The Guild of Professional Estate Agents? For more information, telephone Newman Residential Lettings on (01788) 820028.