The majority of people renting, selling or buying in the UK have had issues with their agents following a study involving over 2000 people conducted by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA). In 2016 over 1 million homes were bought or sold in England and Wales and yet many people will have not checked to see if their agent was regulated or part of a professional body before signing their contract.
It is felt by those parties that instigated the investigation too many people wrongly assume all estate and letting agents and landlords are regulated when in fact there is no requirement at all for agents to be regulated or approved.
The report found that 53% of people had faced issues as part of a property purchase or sale including:-
- Bad communication (19 per cent),
- Feeling as if the agent didn’t care about them (12 per cent)
- Feeling pressurised (10 per cent).
On the other hand those who checked their estate agents were regulated often had their problems dealt they did encounter within a shorter time frame.
It is much the same story for people who rent, with 42% not considering to check whether their agent or landlord was approved or regulated. Of the 55% of renters who experienced problems the majority (57%) had not checked the status of their landlord or agent. The issues they encountered included:-
- Waiting a long time for any issues with the property to be fixed (38 per cent)
- Struggling to get old items replaced (20 per cent)
- Not getting their full deposits back – and not being given a reason why (12 per cent)
Mark Hayward and David Cox of Propertymark, an organisation which acts as a guide for consumers and as a voluntary body for agents commented.
‘Your estate or letting agent should be there to guide you through the process and make it as smooth and pain free as possible. 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, such as Propertymark, and aren’t considering this when choosing an agent.”
Sharrock’s Top Tips
– Make sure you check your estate agent is approved by a respected body such as Propertymark
– Look up reviews to your estate agent
– Only go forward on something if you feel confident
– If you are a landlord or property owner purchase legal cover. It is often inexpensive for a full annual policy but could prove invaluable when faced with drawn out legal disputes and expensive solicitor fees.