Better to be Safe than sorry - Spicerhaart on the importance of Client Money Protection
Spicerhaart is a leading member of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and a founder member of SAFEagent. Paul Sloan, Operations Director of Spicerhaart Residential Lettings, explains why Client Money Protection is important and how the SAFEagent scheme will help.
It is sad fact of life but lettings agents go out of business. I know of at least half a dozen firms in the last 12 months that have closed for differing reasons, often leaving landlords and their tenants unsure of how to recover their money.
It’s why we at Spicerhaart have fully embraced the need for Client Money Protection and why we are adding our voice to National SAFEagent Awareness Week. Without it, people’s money can be at risk should a business fold or a principal abscond with their money (which sadly happens all too frequently.)
Most Public Indemnity Insurance policies cover fraud or dishonesty on the part of an employee of a business, but not the principal, on the basis that you cannot insure against your own dishonesty.
The beauty of Client Money Protection for me is that it can only be obtained through a recognised trade body or accreditation scheme. As a consequence, firms like ourselves are required by the body through whom they are covered, to comply with certain audit requirements such as an annual accountants report covering the proper operation of their client account. We are also required to confirm that adequate funds are held to cover monies due to clients. When applying to join a Client Money Protection scheme it is likely that the firm will be required to obtain written confirmation from their bank that their client accounts are ring fenced and cannot be used to cover any monies owed to the bank by the business in the event of insolvency.
Looking for the SAFEagent mark for me is the easiest visual proof that consumers are protected against total loss. Spicerhaart Residential Lettings are proud to be one of the founder members of SAFEagent because their ethos of doing what is best for the client exactly matches our own approach to business.
Events such as National SAFEagent Awareness Week help to increase public awareness of the importance of choosing a lettings agency that is a SAFEagent. This recognisable signpost clearly denotes that the agent will be covered by a Client Money Protection scheme and as such, whether you are a landlord or a tenant, your money will be safe and secure at all times.
With the housing market in general finding it tough and social housing provision increasingly stretched thanks to contracting government budgets, there has never been more of a focus on the private rental sector and with it letting agents. SAFEagent and Client Money Protection ensure that in the event that something does go wrong, whatever the reason, no one loses out.
Look out for the SAFEagent when you are considering letting or renting a property. Better to be safe than sorry as my mum still reminds me!
Paul Sloan, Operations Director, Spicerhaart Residential Lettings
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