Buying or selling a home can be a daunting experience. After all, a property transaction is one of the largest financial investments you are likely to make. So when transferring hundreds of thousands of pounds to buy or sell a house, you must be sure that the transaction is above board. This is where estate accreditations can give you peace of mind.
But suppose you are a landlord or tenant who is letting or renting a property. In that case, it’s vital to ensure that the letting agent has suitable accreditation and belongs to an approved deposit protection scheme. This way, you have the assurance that the letting agent adheres to the highest professional standards.
In this article, you will learn how to find a trusted estate agent in your local area who can ensure a smooth process when buying, selling, letting, or letting a property in London.
What is Estate Agent Accreditation?
Surprisingly, the law doesn’t require estate agents to be licensed or qualified. However, certain protections are in place to ensure transparency in property transactions. However, even with these protections in place, there is no legal requirement for letting agents or estate agents to belong to a regulatory body.
Why Choose an Accredited Estate Agent in London?
Choosing an estate agent with the appropriate accreditations is the best way to ensure you deal with a professional who takes their work seriously. Accreditation for estate agents means that they must adhere to specific codes of practice. In addition, a property ombudsman also acts in case of disputes to provide independent redress.
Accreditation for estate agents covers the following:
- Energy performance certificates
- Viewing and access to premises
- Proper advertising practices
- Financial evaluations
- Holding deposits in a government-approved protection scheme
- Duty of care
- Exchange of contracts and completion of contracts
The best way to check for accreditation is to ask if your estate agent is a member of the Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme. They should also have the TPO and ‘Approved Code’ logos on their website and offices.
Essential Accreditations for Estate Agents in London
The Property Ombudsman
The Property Ombudsman scheme provides independent redress in cases of disputes between consumers and estate agents. The scheme has two goals. First, to ensure that estate agents and letting agents adhere to stringent standards. Second, to resolve complaints made by consumers.
For example, an estate agent who is a member of the Property Ombudsman abides to the TPO Codes of Practices. This means that they work to a higher level of service than the industry requires. This can help you decide which letting agent or estate agent to choose. In addition, you are assured that any valid complaint you have about poor service will be taken seriously.
Here are some examples of the type of complaint you can make:
- Poor or incompetent service
- Lack of proper record keeping
- Deceptive marketing or advertising
- Failure to handle complaints
- Fraudulent behaviour
- Not adhering to government guidelines on deposits, fees, and financial transactions
The Ombudsman will intervene in a dispute if you can’t come to a resolution with the estate agent or letting agent within eight weeks.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute
Estate agents and letting agents who belong to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) ensure adherence to professional standards. Like the Property Ombudsman, the CTSI will help settle disputes between consumers and its members. They also set out codes of practice to ensure the highest standards of customer service.
Why is it vital to choose an estate agent who is a member of the CTSI? One reason is that the government recommends contacting the CTSI if you need advice or need to make a complaint against an estate agent. Therefore, unless the estate agent is in the scheme, you will have no access to redress.
Accredited Money Protection Scheme — SafeAgent
SafeAgent is the leading accreditation scheme for lettings and management agents in the UK. SafeAgent-accredited agents like Hastings International provide superior service and consumer protection through adherence to strict accreditation criteria. Therefore, doing business with an accredited SafeAgent member like Hastings International gives you confidence in the service.
Here are some of the criteria SafeAgent members must abide by:
- Hold clients’ money in a Client Money Protection Scheme
- Adhere to standards of customer service
- Have a written complaints procedure
- Maintain proper internal accounts
- ollow appropriate letting procedures before, during and after the tenancy
Ensuring your estate agent or letting agent has the appropriate accreditations gives you peace of mind. So why not get in touch with Hastings International to see how buying or selling a home can be an enjoyable experience.
We are a fully accredited estate agency in the heart of London with a strong commitment to customer service. So regardless of whether you are buying or selling a house or looking for a professional letting agency, our team is here to assist.