A checklist for agents to help ensure they steer clear of unwanted fines or claims has been provided by the Guild of Property Professionals.
It is warning that missing information or displaying the incorrect information in an agency branch has the potential to cause agents some unwanted issues.
Paul Offley, the Guild’s compliance officer, says: “Mis-information has the potential to firstly ruin an agency’s reputation and secondly could open up agents to potential fines or claims. Regular checks to ensure that all the required information is visible and correct will save agents from potential issues in the long run.”
His checklist includes:
Windows displays - do the window display show the correct information in terms of price and availability? These should be checks against the agent’s system to ensure they are update and reflect the right information;
EPC ratings - these should be on all property displays (unless the property is exempt);
Redress provider - is the agent’s chosen redress provide scheme ‘sticker’ on display in the window and is their membership certificate on display in the branch? Remember, if the agent is a member of The Property Ombudsman (TPO), then they should have the TPO consumer guide on display;
Professional Indemnity Insurance – this should be on display and ‘in date’;
Employer’s liability insurance – while this should be on display and in date, however this does not have to be in a public area;
Health and Safety at work poster - does it give the right contact details?
Fire notices - correctly showing what to do and where to meet in the event of an evacuation;
Fire exit route - just check these are clear and not blocked with bags, hoovers, cleaning buckets and that the fire door is unlocked/unbolted;
First aid kit – the first aid kit should fully be equipped with the required contents and needs to be ‘in date’;
Accident book – essential document for employers and employees, who are legally required to report any work-related injury or accident.
Offley adds that where applicable the agent would be required to have copies of landlord and tenant fee information, client money protection certificate and deposit scheme membership certificate.
They would also require any devolved government requirement such as Rent Smart Wales certificate.
To comply with the Companies Act, Offley says that if an agency is a sole trader or partnership with less than 20 partners, the owner’s name or the name of all partners would need to be documented.
For limited companies, it is required to have a notice confirming the registered name, number, address, and place of registration.
“Ensuring that the right information is displayed with ensure that agents avoid unnecessary issues that could easily be avoided. Routine checks will protect both the agent’s reputation and their business” he concludes.