Could Rightmove, Zoopla etc. clean up the lettings industry?Make Text Bigger
It has just occurred to me that most of the lettings agents that don’t carry professional indemnity insurance or protect deposits still need to advertise on the major property portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla, PrimeLocation, Globrix etc.
There have been plenty of media articles recently calling for the Compulsory Licensing of Letting Agents and stories of landlords and tenants who have been left out of pocket due to negligence or dishonesty of their appointed agents.
We know that some agents are a safer bet than others, for example, ARLA members have to pass exams and have client money bonding and professional indemnity insurance. If an ARLA member is negligent or dishonest, both landlords and tenants have recourse to insurance backed arrangements to recover their losses. However, most people who let out their properties don’t even realise that Letting Agents are not regulated by statute. Further, most rental property owners have no idea that their money isn’t always safe or that they can’t delegate their legal responsibilities as landlords. Is it right that such massive amounts of money should be allowed to pass through the hands of intermediaries with no professional qualifications, insurance or licensing?
Why don’t the UK’s major property portals simply refuse to take advertising from ‘risky agents’? Does the extra advertising revenue really justify the reputational risk?
Do you think the leading property portals such reconsider their responsibilities? They must surely be in a position to request some very basic information to confirm minimal credentials of agents they accept advertising from before they open an account for them.
What information would you suggest the property portals should ask agents for prior to setting them up with an advertising account?
My list is very short, as follows:-
- Data Protection licence
- Professional Indemnity Insurance
- Professional Qualifications
- Client Money Bonding
- Professional or trade body affiliations
Maybe they don’t ask the questions because if they do they carry some sort of vicarious liability? I hope not though because that just wouldn’t seem right.
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