A group of the country’s leading agents have launched a kitemark to raise consumer awareness of the financial risk of using ‘uninsured’ agents.
With an increase in letting agents failing and leaving client account deficits or in some cases absconding with clients’ rent and deposits altogether, a group of national agents* in the sector have been working to establish an easily identifiable kitemark which will clearly signpost those agents who are covered by any of the existing client money protection (CMP) schemes. If an agent does not display the new kitemark consumers will be told that they are potentially at risk.
Nick Cooper, Managing Director of Northwood, who Chairs the group explains: “Those agents within existing CMP schemes and who have fully compliant client accounting standards want to root out the unscrupulous operators who tarnish the reputation of the sector. The group believes, as many other firms do, that the Industry needs to find a more effective way to communicate to consumers the benefits of using agents who have CMP and the protection that this will afford them. Further we believe that the way to achieve this is to engage the support of consumer groups. This is where the new kitemark will come in. It will ensure consumers know exactly what to look for when they approach an agent. The aim is simple no kitemark, no Client Money Protection if the agent goes bust.”
“Landlords often make decisions on placing their business with an agent based on cost but it can end up costing them more than they bargained for if the agents shut down and disappear with the contents of the client account. If agents are not part of a CMP scheme, consumers have little or no possibility of recovering lost funds. We have got to make consumers more aware of this.”
The kitemark will be available for use by all agents in current CMP schemes. More details will be published next week but it will be FREE for agents in CMP schemes to register and a nominal charge for marketing material.
Industry organisations have been approached to get behind this new initiative. The group of agents has approached NALS to help them get this new kitemark up and running and welcomes other likeminded firms interested in joining forces to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org