Help! I think I rented through a dodgy agent!

Q.  I have just rented a property from an agent that I am now beginning to have concerns about. Having already moved in I now feel anxious that he doesn’t seem to be regulated at all as I still don’t have anything to show he has my deposit and I’m now beginning to worry whether I will ever get it back as they seem so unprofessional. I rented this place in a rush and I am now beginning to have my doubts about who I have got involved with.

A.  Renting from a regulated agent is something I recommend that everyone who ever enters the rental market should do. It often shocks me that tenants are prepared to hand over vast sums of cash without ever checking whether or not the agent is regulated. Unfortunately although they are rarer these days there are still many cowboys operating within the industry that are not adhering to any legislation at all and disappearing with tenants rent money and deposits. Any respective agent has nothing to hide and wants to be part of the regulated schemes such as Arla or PropertyMark. Tenants that rent via such agents are completely protected as the agent needs to comply to a strict code of conduct. There is also The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme which has been providing consumers and property agents with an alternative dispute resolution service since 1990. The Ombudsman’s resolutions are designed to achieve a full and final settlement of disputes and all claims made by either party. The Ombudsman can, where appropriate, make compensatory awards in individual cases up to a maximum of £25,000 for actual and quantifiable loss and/or for aggravation, distress and/or inconvenience caused by the actions of an agent. You can check if your agent is a member here:- https://www.tpos.co.uk/find-a-member As well as the TPO The tenancy deposit protection legislation introduced some years ago also applies to all new tenancy deposits taken on or after 6 April 2007 for qualifying assured shorthold tenancies. … So, in England and Wales if a deposit is taken on an assured shorthold tenancy with an annual rent of up to £100,000 it must be protected in a tenancy deposit scheme. The government is still pushing for Client money protection schemes too, this give landlords and tenants confidence that their money is safe when it is being handled by an agent. Where an agent is a member of a client money protection scheme, it enables a tenant, landlord or both to be compensated if all or part of their money is not repaid. All members of PropertyMark are protected and compliant.

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