SAFEagent Awareness Week is now under way, running until Friday.
Over 3,000 lettings agents across the UK will participate in the fourth annual initiative, aimed at raising consumer awareness of the importance of choosing an agent who is part of a Client Money Protection scheme.
As from last Wednesday, all lettings and managing agents in England are required to display whether or not they belong to a CMP scheme.
The Government has also given its support to SAFEagent Awareness Week since its launch in 2011. Suppliers to the sector such as Endsleigh and Imfuna also offer their backing to the campaign, as do a number of consumer organisations.
After yet more cases where lettings agents have misused client money, SAFEagent chairman John Midgley said: “There are still too many people who are not aware of the potential pitfalls of choosing an agent who is not part of a CMP scheme.”
He said consumers are not always aware of the fact that if an agent were to abscond with a landlord or tenant’s money without CMP in place, there would be little chance of retrieving the money. As a result, consumers are still not always asking the right questions at the outset.
He said: “Whilst the last few years have seen the Government move to tighten regulations around letting agents, it is also important that tenants and landlords understand that the right to independent redress only goes so far and does not offer financial recompense should an agent misappropriate clients money.
“Landlords and tenants need to choose wisely by asking a few simple questions of their agent. It will make all the difference.
“As it stands, we welcome the requirement for all agents to display whether or not they are part of a CMP scheme but we want to see membership of such a scheme a mandatory requirement for all agents.”
Among the agents supporting SAFEagent is Hunters, whose managing director Glynis Frew (pictured) said: “As founding members of SAFEagent, Hunters are delighted to see the industry coming together as a united community to support this initiative.
“By helping to raise awareness of the SAFEagent campaign this week we hope to encourage landlords and tenants to make a safe, informed choice when choosing future agents.”