The Association of Residential Letting Agents has issued new warnings to would-be tenants to be on the alert for rogue letting agents – and to beware of logos which could be fake or mean very little as to the agent’s professional credentials.
Ian Potter, managing director of ARLA, said: “Unfortunately, there are many horror stories of rogue lettings agents, as the rental sector is unregulated. This means anyone can set up shop as an agent, or become a landlord.”
He said warning signs of bad practice can include landlords offering property for much less than market rents, or advertising properties with no deposit to pay. Others may ask for deposits to be paid before the tenant has visited the property, supposedly in order to seal the deal.
ARLA also warned: “The internet and online forums can be a hotspot for unscrupulous agents as there is very little regulation about who can post adverts online. And the global nature of the internet means individuals living in or outside of the UK can easily advertise for properties to rent in the UK. Some will be legitimate, but not all.”
ARLA is advising prospective tenants to be wary of agents who refuse full viewing and inspection of the property. It said: “At best, there may be problems behind the closed doors; at worst they may be showing you around a property that is already being rented to another individual, who may be staying on in that room.”
ARLA also warned tenants to keep an eye out for “non-accredited third party logos or non-accredited third party logos or accreditation being used by agents to look as if they are monitored and adhere to a set code of conduct”.
ARLA said tenants should always check whether agents belong to a professional organisation and have client money protection and offer redress schemes, and be very cautious about using transfer agents to pay money.
Article courtesy of Landlord Today