SAFEagent Awareness Week 2016 – celebrating 5 years of consumer protection

This June, 3,000 professional lettings agents across the UK will unite for the annual SAFEagent Awareness Week – highlighting to consumers the importance of choosing a professional agent who is part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme.

This is the 5th anniversary of the campaign, which grows and gains momentum every year.

The week runs from 6th -10th June 2016 – and has the objective of reminding consumers that their finances are at risk if their chosen agent does not have client money protection in place.

This community supported and generated campaign always lights up the social web with tweets, status up-dates, and blogs, as well as an array of off-line activity, which includes agents be-decking their business premises with SAFEagent signage and balloons.

It gives SAFEagents a chance to highlight that they have client money protection in place, educate consumers as to its importance, and differentiate themselves from their competitors.  It also showcases the industry united behind professional standards and making a stand against rogue agents.

The 2016 campaign will see SAFE sponsoring for the duration of SAFEagent Awareness Week.

Property Tribes is one of the leading independent landlord and property investment discussion and information sharing forums in the U.K.

Nick Tadd, co-founder of Property Tribes commented:

“We are delighted that SAFEagent has chosen Property Tribes as an industry partner to communicate with landlords and bring awareness of client money protection and lettings agents who voluntarily subscribe to it, to the landlord audience.

This fits very well with the remit of our site – to create a better experience of the private rented sector for all parties involved with it.  We look forward to working with SAFEagent during the week to create heightened awareness of CMP through content sharing on our site, and engaging landlords on this important topic”.

Industry supporters include Endsleigh Insurance, DPS, the Property Redress Scheme, and TDS.

The Government has also given its support to SAFEagent Awareness Week since its launch in 2011 and with the SAFEagent logo appearing in their “How to Rent” guide.

SAFEagent campaigns for full and mandatory CMP – which protects landlords and tenants from the worst practice in letting agency. While mandatory CMP is now firmly on the government’s agenda with amendments to the Housing and Planning Bill, it has still not been passed in law, leaving many consumers still at risk.

The market is huge, with an estimated £2.7 billion* held by letting agents in client accounts, but unfortunately there are still too many cases of criminal letting agents stealing landlord and tenant cash.

John Midgley, Chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group, says:

“If an agent were to steal landlord or tenant money without CMP in place there’s little chance of getting their money back. Choosing a letting agent without CMP in place is a massive risk for both landlords and tenants. Who can afford to lose thousands of pounds?

“While we are finally getting closer to mandatory CMP we aren’t there yet. It is so important that tenants and landlords understand that the right to redress only goes so far, and they need to choose their agent wisely by asking if they are part of a CMP scheme before entering into a contract with them. It can make all the difference”.

John Midgley recent gave this up-date from the NALS Conference in March on why the SAFEagent campaign is more relevant than ever:

Tenants and landlords / consumers are encouraged to go on-line and check out SAFEagent to find an agent in their area and the advice is to always look for the SAFEagent mark, an easily identifiable consumer mark denoting agents subscribed to a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme.

Join us in celebrating the 5th anniversary of SAFEagent’s campaign for consumer protection by sharing this blog on social media and joining the festivities on twitter at #SAAWeek16.

SAFEagent – Safe Agent Fully Endorsed – is a reliable mark denoting firms that protect landlords and tenants money through Client Money Protection schemes.  Set up ‘by the industry, for the industry’ and recognised by the Government, it is supported by Citizens Advice Bureaux, The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services:Property, the Property Redress Scheme, My Deposits, TDS and DPS as well as industry suppliers such as Endsleigh.

All agents registered with SAFEagent are part of regulatory organisations/accreditation schemes in the Private Rented Sector and Client Money Protection Schemes which reimburse consumers in the event of misappropriation of clients’ funds. There are several schemes in the sector operated by NALS, ARLA, the Law Society, RICS and UKALA to which agents voluntarily belong. The scope of these schemes varies and consumers should contact their agent for full details of the scheme of which they are a part.

The SAFEagent Steering Group comprises:

Northwood; Belvoir; Foxtons; Touchstone; Winkworth; Hunters, Spicerhaart, Sequence, Connells, Countrywide, Leaders and Savills.

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