SafeAgent

SafeAgent is a client money protection scheme organised by as an umbrella organisation of some of the country’s leading letting agents.

The firms set up SafeAgent in April 2011 as a direct response to bad publicity from a series of investigations and court cases involving rogue letting agents who had closed owing landlords thousands of pounds in rents.

Some of the firms shut because of bad financial management, and others were fraudsters who could not resist the temptation to steal rents and deposits.

Protection for landlord cash held by letting agents

SafeAgent is one of several client money protection schemes that safeguard landlord cash by separating cash belonging to the letting agent from that held on behalf of landlords and tenants.

If a letting agent belonging to SafeAgent goes bust or steals money, the loss should be covered in full.

SafeAgent letting agents also have to operate a tenancy deposit protection scheme. All landlords have to protect tenant deposits by law.

The government backs the SafeAgent scheme and links to the group’s web site through portals like the Communities and Local Government Department web site and DirectGov, which offers free consumer advice.

To qualify for membership, a firm has to provide membership details of a client money protection scheme and registration information about any self-regulating trade body.

Letting industry support for SafeAgent

Property Ombudsman Christopher Hamer said: “I support this initiative. Reducing the number of disputes and disadvantaged consumers must be a prime aim and anything which helps landlords find an agent who is committed to a high standard of service and the protection of client funds has to be seen as positive.

“For agents it must be an advantage to be able to confirm to the public that they have a secure approach to holding client money.”

Many other consumer and letting industry organisations back SafeAgent, including Which, Shelter, the Residential Landlords Association and the Trading Standards Institute.

Click here for the SafeAgent web site [Opens in new window]

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