THE Government is being accused of failing to protect people from fraudulent lettings agents after a BBC investigation found evidence of rogue agents charging rent and deposits — and then advising them they can no longer move into the property and can’t get their money back.
The response from Theresa Wallace, head of customer services at property investor and lettings expert, Savills, is: “There are a lot of very good and reputable agents around the country, all keen to see lettings agents regulated. However, until such time as the government implements full regulation of the industry, rogue agents will continue to trade.”
To try and prevent renting through a rogue agent or landlord, Theresa offers prospective tenants these top tips:
Firstly, establish whether the letting agent belongs to a trade association such as ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) or RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors). Member agents can be found on their websites. If you are dealing directly with a landlord, check against the National Landlords Association or Residential Landlords Association.
Establish if they have an office with a landline. This is important so you know who is holding your money and where you can find them in the event you need your money back.