The 6th to 10th June sees SAFEagent week in the UK. It’s an important consumer protection scheme that is rarely given the profile it deserves so here’s a recap on its purpose and benefits and why Property Divas is a proud member.
S.A.F.E. stands for safe agent fully endorsed. It is backed by ARLA, the Law Society, NALS, RICS and UKALA and belonging to the different schemes is voluntary which means that any agent worth their salt that cares about the service they are providing will seek out SAFEagent membership.
The schemes operate a client money protection plan (CMP) and are run by respected industry bodies that act independently of the agents they regulate and accredit. The CMP maintains landlords’ rights by protecting any payments held by the agent such as rent. Any misappropriation of monies held by the agent would result in the landlord being able to recover their loss from the scheme, providing the agent is a member of course. The same is true for tenants.
Under SAFEagent membership, landlords’ and tenants’ monies are held in an account that is separate from the lettings firm’s operating account so funds aren’t ‘confused’. The firm’s accounts are checked annually by an independent body to ensure everything is above board and as it should be. Since May last year it also became compulsory for lettings and management agencies to show if they were part of a CMP scheme, though why you wouldn’t do this anyway is unclear.
For an agency such as Property Divas the SAFEagent scheme is a chance to showcase its values and customer service credentials. To qualify, the agency must be part of a recognised CMP scheme and a member of a regulatory organisation so SAFE membership isn’t as simple as it sounds nor is it automatic. It is however, worthwhile to show both landlords and tenants that you respect their rights and are willing to go the extra mile to protect them.
That’s why the Divas will be celebrating and promoting SAFEagent week. Now in its fifth year, the week-long campaign highlights the importance of money protection and upholds standards of service. The message to the public is: only use agents with this peace of mind in place.