Lettings industry unites in fight against rogue agents
By Simon Thompson
The first meeting of a letting industry talk shop about protecting money paid by landlords and tenants from unscrupulous letting agents highlights the confusion in the sector.
Letting agents are an unregulated industry and many landlords and tenants have fallen foul of firms that have closed owing them thousands of pounds in collected rents and deposits.
The firms close for several reasons – the main being dishonesty and poor business management.
The government is considering regulating the industry – but currently several fragmented groups are running self-regulated schemes in an attempt to clean-up the market place.
The forum seems to be the first step in the industry admitting the confusion splintered schemes give to consumers and a step towards a unified front.
The first meeting of the forum included 11 groups representing letting agents, deposit protection schemes and insurers –
• ARLA – the Association of Residential Letting Agents
• Capita – an outsourcing company
• The Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS)
• My Deposits
• NALS - the National Approved Letting Scheme
• NFOPP - National Federation of Property Professionals
• RICS – Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
• The Dispute Service (TDS)
• UKALA –UK Association of Letting Agents linked with the National Landlords Association (NLA)
The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) was a conspicuous absentee – but TDS does operate the group’s deposit protection service.
A published meeting note said: “There was majority agreement on the importance of raising consumer awareness of client money protection (CMP) schemes; explaining how the various schemes help to protect consumers and encouraging consumers to use lettings and management agents who are covered by them.
“It was agreed that all relevant information to consumers needs to be as available and as transparent as possible so that consumers are aware of what protection currently exists. It will be considered whether any improvements can be made to what is currently available and whether or not the term CMP itself needs to be redefined.”
The forum agreed to meet consumers to find out how to promote CMP schemes and to share information.
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