In 2011, Northwood joined with some other like-minded agents to try and make a difference to consumers in acting as a signpost towards properly regulated Letting Agents. From the initial small group, SAFEagent has grown with over 3000 members.
As a result of our latest campaign, it appears as if Housing Minister (Brandon Lewis MP) has had a change of heart since SAFEagent wrote to him recently. He had responded that he had no plans at that time to make CMP mandatory but he appears to have listened to the concerns of the SAFEgent campaign.
SAFEagent welcomes the move by Government with the introduction of an additional amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill (currently at Report stage in the House of Lords) to require all lettings agents to display alongside with all fees and charges to landlords and tenants, whether the firm offers the financial protection of being part of a Client Money Protection Scheme* .(CMP)
Since its launch in 2011 the SAFEagent campaign started ‘by agents for agents’ has been calling for inclusion under a CMP scheme to be made mandatory for all agents. John Midgely, SAGEagent chair comments “This is the first step in ensuring that being part of a CMP scheme is made a mandatory requirement. We understand the Government’s focus on taking action to ensure transparency and fairness of letting agents’ fees and charges which addresses the financial aspects of entering into a tenancy but, in order to offer real consumer protection for the whole process agents should be part of a CMP Scheme. This new move goes part way to addressing the situation .Consumers should always ask an agent they are dealing with if they are part of a CMP scheme and if not why not? We would urge all peers to give their support to this amendment when it is debated in the House of Lords early next week”.
Eric Walker, Northwood MD, agrees. “Since we started our campaign, more and more people have listened. This is a superb example of agents putting the battles for market share behind their desire to protect consumers from the small element who simply ignore regulation. Government must do more as it is only the politicians who can change the Law, however I know the SAFEagent group is delighted to have had some influence.”
SAFEagent is widely recognised as the mark to look for to take the risk out of the rental sector and has already been recognised by the Government and key industry organisations such as DPS, TDS, My Deposits, Ombudsman Services: Property, The Property Ombudsman Scheme, CAB, RLA and the Trading Standards Institute as well as being supported by industry suppliers such as Endsleigh and Imfuna. There are over 3000 agents offices signed up to the SAFEagent campaign.
The SAFEagent campaign is driven by the SAFEagent Steering Group comprising of representatives from the following firms:
- The Connells Group