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Majority of Brits face issues with rogue property agents

Written by: Tim Chen
More than half of Brits who bought, sold or rented a home in the last five years had issues with their estate or letting agents, with the majority neglecting to check if their agent was regulated.

The findings highlight the demand for regulation in the sector. Measures announced include an upcoming letting agent fee ban, plans by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to name and shame rogue landlords and agents, and further regulation and qualification changes proposed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Propertymark found that 54% of respondents had faced issues with their agents, with 38% reporting long waiting times before problems with the property are fixed, 20% of respondents struggling to replace old items, and 12% of those surveyed not getting the full deposit back and not given a reason why.

The online survey asked 2,002 UK adults who had bought, sold or rented a property in the last five years about their experience with letting agents, estate agents, and landlords.

A large part of the problem, according to Propertymark, is consumers’ assumption that all estate agents, letting agents and landlords are regulated.

The results showed that 37% of buyers and sellers and 42% of renters did not consider whether their agent was a part of a professional body before progressing with their transaction.

However, the research also showed that more people were checking to see if their agent was regulated compared to 2014 figures. In 2014, 64% of renters and 39% of buyers and sellers went ahead with their transactions without confirmation, against the 42% and 37% of 2017.

‘Important to ask the question’

Mark Hayward, managing director of NAEA Propertymark, said: “The number of buyers, sellers and renters checking to see if their agent is regulated has improved since 2014, but it’s still worrying that so many people assume all agents are members of a professional body, and aren’t considering this when choosing an agent.

“Choosing a property, whether it’s to buy or rent, is a huge financial commitment and can be overwhelming, especially for first-timers.

“We almost always go with the agent attached to a property if we’re buying or renting, but it’s important to at least ask the question,” he added.

Hayward also noted that it is critical for consumers to confirm whether agents are part of professional bodies such as Propertymark before choosing them.

“It means they’re dealing with a professional who has opted for regulation in an unregulated sector, and it will give them peace of mind that their money is protected,” he added.

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