NEWS that the days of unscrupulous operators blighting the property rental sector are now finally numbered has been welcomed by Linley & Simpson.
Now the Government has this week announced long-awaited plans for it to be mandatory for all letting and management agents to sign up to a recognised client money protection scheme.
A consultation programme on how to implement the new directive which will ensure that all £2.8 billion of client money held by the sector is fully safeguarded for the first time - is to begin later this year.
"This is good news for landlords and tenants and is a massive step forward in consumer protection closing a gap that rogue agents set out to exploit.
"It also signals the end-of-the line for those agents who fly by the seat of their pants with scant regard to providing a quality service," said director Will Linley.
"But it is important to remember that this will not become compulsory straight away and until the consultation is complete, both landlords and tenants must remain vigilant - and still look out for agencies who have the SafeAgent accreditation.
"Many reputable agents have chosen to join SafeAgent, giving their clients peace of mind that their money, whether it be deposits or monthly rental payments, is safeguarded. With this also comes a commitment to excellent customer service.
He added: "Nobody books a holiday with a travel agent who is not properly accredited and registered - but, as ever-increasing numbers of tenants and landlords are finding to their cost, this isn't always the case in the rental market where the stakes are far higher.
"This will help bring all agents in line and if properly policed will drive up standards among those in the sector who so far have shunned the idea of joining an approved client money protection scheme. Soon, that option will no longer exist."