THE regulation of the lettings industry has long been a source of controversy, and despite the sector’s rapid growth over recent years it is still somewhat unregulated.
With growth predicted to escalate over coming years local lettings specialist, Belvoir, which has an office on Chapel Street in Rugby, is urging landlords and tenants to choose their letting agent carefully, and in particular look for one that they can be sure will keep their money safe.
Since the launch of a new scheme, of which Belvoir is a founding member, this should now be a little easier. The SAFE Agent scheme, which already has 750 members throughout the UK, including Belvoir Rugby, is designed to highlight agents which protect their clients’ through money protection schemes.
All member companies are awarded the SAFE (Safe Agent Fully Endorsed) mark, which has been welcomed by the Trading Standards Institute as an easily identifiable kite mark related to financial protection.
“Finances are obviously hugely important to both landlords and tenants, however they sometimes overlook the importance of knowing that their money is safe in the hands of their agent,” says Belvoir Rugby joint owner Richard Baker. “They’ll now be able to look out for the SAFE Agent kite mark and feel secure in the knowledge that lettings agents that have been awarded the mark will guard their money through client protection schemes.”
SAFE Agent has the full support of the National Approved Lettings Scheme (NALS) and since its launch has received backing from a number of high profile firms and consumer groups.
Belvoir Lettings MD Dorian Gonsalves is amongst a group of industry experts who advocated the scheme from the start and in the early stages committed Central Office funds towards its development.
He said: “I firmly believe that the introduction of SAFE Agent is a positive step in the right direction for the regulation of this industry. It mirrors Belvoir’s three core principles of professionalism, specialism and high quality customer service and will give our agents a competitive edge.”