Tenants should not choose the cheapest letting agents but look for those endorsed by schemes, warns county agency
Tenants should not choose the cheapest letting agents but look around for a member of a regulatory body or scheme.
That is the message from Stuart Turner, of Morgan Associates, which is a licensed member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents.
Unlike estate agents, letting agents do not have to be regulated despite the large amounts of cash they handle.
Morgan Associates are licensed members of ARLA, the National Approved Letting Scheme, a member of The Property Ombudsman and is Safe Agent Fully Endorsed – a mark denoting firms that protect landlords' and tenants' money through client money protection schemes. Each one costs an agency money to join.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Stuart, who is marketing manager at the Cheltenham letting and management company, said: "Tenants know they can come into the office and speak to an ARLA trained member of staff. Not only do we have to invest as a company in time with staff development but the financial burden is tremendous.
"We are at the highest level of regulation. It costs a lot of money to be a part of these schemes and that's probably why a lot of independent agencies don't do it.
"That's why as a tenant you shouldn't look at the cheapest one. It's about the quality of documentation, for example. A good agent will let you look at a copy of the letting agreement."
New research from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), reveals compulsory regulation of letting agents combined with the introduction of professional standards for all agents could generate over £20million of benefits per year to the UK economy.
The research shows this would be the outcome following an initial set-up cost of £45million.
Stuart agreed this was a necessary step for the industry to prevent cases like Panache Lettings happening, where £13,500 was taken from 13 customers.
"Anything that brings more money to the economy is a good thing," Stuart said. "From my point of view it means more agents doing things the right way and stop cases like Pinnache happening again. It's one of a number of companies in Cheltenham that have done things the wrong way. It could have been worse if they had continued for another couple of months."
Morgan Associates was set up in 1965 and is one of the longest established independent agens in Cheltenham.
â Cheltenham letting agent Ryan Lee will be sentenced next week after lining his pockets with more than £10,000 of customer's money. The 24-year-old took £13,500 from 13 customers of his company Panache Lettings, which was based in Bath Road. He pleaded guilty to 11 charges of engaging in unfair commercial practices, for offences committed between February 2009 and 2010 where he made false representations to tenants. He will be sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court on February 26 after 10 months on the run overseas.
â Turn to our lettings section – page 24.