From 1 October 2014 anyone carrying out “lettings agency work” operating in England or Wales must belong to a government authorised redress scheme or face a fine of up to £5000.00.
Any lettings agent, relocation agent, or property management agent not already a member of a scheme now has just two weeks to comply.
For the avoidance of doubt, there are only three schemes which a business can join:
As campaigners for a properly regulated Lettings Industry, Northwood welcomes this important step. Eric Walker, Managing Director and one of the founding members of SAFEagent believes that continued education of the public is key. “As with all regulations they only prove effective when policed. To date, this has been noticeably lacking. Landlords and tenants should ask the question of an agent and report any agent who does not belong to a redress scheme to Trading Standards. If an agent is not a member of a regulatory redress scheme, then you should walk away as they are breaking the Law. The best advice is to only use an agent which is a member of ARLA, NALS, RICS, NAEA or the Law Society as you will know that they comply with all regulations and further, will have Clients Money Protection Insurance and Professional Indemnity Insurance. If an agent is not a member of one of these regulatory bodies, you should ask yourself why not.”
Consumers should be be aware that in order to comply with the Consumer Contracts (Information Cancellation and Additional Charges Regulations 2013 the name and details of the redress scheme to which and agent belongs MUST be given to consumers before any contract is entered into. The information should be given either in the terms of business or separately but always before the contract is concluded.