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Hunters pledge to security and integrity in the property letting market; How being a member of safeagent builds trust in our name.

 

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The private lettings market often gets a bad name; some of it would appear to be a fair assessment as when flicking through the TV guide at any time of day, there is virtually always a, ‘Tenants from hell’, ‘landlords from hell’ or ‘Uk’s worst homes’ type programme on one of the channels. Further confusion about tenant and landlord rights has been created by some lesser informed individuals not getting to grips with the Tenant Fees Act 2019. The great thing about the Tenant Fees Act 2019 reforms is that it has made huge progress ensuring tenants’ rights, and money, are protected from unscrupulous landlords and letting agents.

Some tenants in the private sector are among the most vulnerable in society as they may be on a low income so have reduced options available to them, have poor health, be migrant workers unsure of their rights, or often in need of rehousing quickly. Having said that, of course all our customers need to be looked after through their letting process with the same care and diligence; providing a service befitting the nation’s favourite estate agency.

How we react to the complexities of the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and treat our customers is integral to the way Hunters Franchising is viewed within the estate agency industry, and to the individuals and families looking for their next home.

We can write all we want about the service we provide, but sometimes actions speak louder than words… as a brand, we started to think about how we could show our customers, in a practical way, just how we value them, whether the prospective tenant, or the landlord, we need to show our commitment and basically put our money where our mouth is! Over 75% of the Hunters® network have voluntarily opted to be a part of safeagent™.

safeagent™ is an accreditation scheme run on a ‘not for profit’ basis that provides a nationally recognised and respected framework; this gives landlords and tenants in the private sector confidence in their letting and property management agency.

To be awarded the safeagent™ accreditation and earn the right to display the safeagent™ badge, letting agents agree to conform and adhere to a stringent set of rules.

Hunters as a network, did not need to make any changes to our current working practices or our longer-term goals, as we were already committed to the set criteria through our own ‘best practice’ ethos.

The key points to meet the accreditation standards to give tenants and landlords confidence in a letting agent are;

  • Commitment to explicit customer service standards
  • Hold Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Maintain a bank account specifically designated to hold client funds and be part of a Client Money Protection Scheme.
  • Participate in annual independent inspection of accounting procedures related to holding of client funds.
  • Possess a written customer complaints policy and procedure with associated access to adjudication through a redress scheme. Hunters are members of ‘The Property Ombudsman’.

These criteria sound pretty straight forward to those of us used to providing our customers with the very highest service as standard, but there are some businesses that need a little extra help and guidance. Any system that improves the professionalism within the industry can only be a force for good. The growing commitment within the Hunters family to the safeagent™ scheme ensures that we can demonstrate our worth in the marketplace and give private landlords and tenants the peace of mind they deserve.

If you want to discuss standards of quality within your estate agency branch or find out more how being part of the Hunters franchise family can help build your business, just give me a ring on 01904 756103.

Andy Bushell.