Why we support SAFEagent Awareness Week - TDS chief
Last month saw the collapse of Canterbury based Lettings Agent Joseph Newman. The agent went into voluntary liquidation with the liquidator saying that up to £350,000 is owed to landlords and tenants from the client account. Some of this will be rent money but a lot of it is likely to be rental deposits. Tenants appear to have been told that the deposits were protected by the custodial scheme DPS but it appears that many of the deposits may in fact never have been paid over to DPS.
Now of course you could argue that tenants should have checked that their deposits were protected but for many tenants, particularly the students to whom Joseph Newman was letting may not be fully aware of the intricacies of deposit protection. The tragedy of course is that this agent has gone bust, taking the client account down with it, leaving landlords and tenants out of pocket. If the tenant deposits were not protected then the deposit protection legislation will not be able to repay the deposit to the tenant.
This is why TDS supports the regulation of the private rented sector and in particular that Lettings Agent ought to be regulated and provide client money protection insurance. In the event that such a regulated firm goes bust for whatever reason then landlords and tenants will have access to the client money insurance protection supplied by the firm’s regulated body (e.g. ARLA, NAEA, NALS, RICS or the Law Society). In addition if deposits are protected with one of the three approved schemes then tenants should be able to recover their lost deposits via the schemes.
ARLA has some very powerful advertising that makes it clear why you should use a bonded lettings agent and it is really important that landlords and tenants are made aware of the risks of using unregulated agents without CMP. In Canterbury the local lettings agents, landlord groups, tenants groups and the local National Union of Students should be joining together to stress the need for agents to have client money protection. And if consumers then choose to use an unregulated agent they need to be doubly sure that the deposit is protected with one of the three schemes and be aware that their client money might be at risk.
That’s why TDS supports ARLA, NAEA, RICS and NALS in promoting the benefits of regulation for lettings agents with client money protection insurance and why we support SAFEAgent awareness week.
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