A North East-based lettings agency has launched a national pledge to help challenge the unethical practices that go on in parts of the industry.
The Ethical Lettings Pledge is the creation of Carla Keegans, who supports the Government’s proposals to tackle rogue criminal agents, but believes much more needs to be done in the wider industry.
With more than two million private landlords currently operating and over 12 million tenants living in the private rented sector, many people turn to lettings agents for help but are increasingly let down or excluded.
Carla, who in July 2015 set up The Ethical Lettings Agency in Redcar, has been working on the pledge since December, seeking advice and feedback from trusted individuals around her.
She said: “It’s only right landlords expect agents to be properly qualified and experienced to help navigate around the increasingly complex legislation and issues that are now common in the sector.
“Unfortunately, many agents are not and there are numerous examples, backed up by national research, which indicate many landlords feel ripped off by agents.
“This pledge will show landlords and tenants that agents operate to some clear ethical standards, and if agents signed-up to the pledge fail to deliver, then landlords and tenants can challenge them on this.”
Landlords, tenants, and members of the public can also sign a formal petition to lobby for national legislative change, which will shortly be accessible via The Ethical Lettings website.
As a community interest company (CIC), The Ethical Lettings Agency fully understands the impact letting agents can have on local communities too, which will benefit as much from the pledge as tenants and landlords.
The Agency has already created two new jobs in Redcar, a town which has suffered from 1000s of recent job losses; perhaps a reason why the Agency was recently invited to meet Prince Charles.
Political figures have already shown support for the pledge, including Cabinet Member for Housing at RCBC, Cllr Lynn Pallister.
She said: “This social enterprise delivers ethical services and investment into our community and we are proud to support it for the benefit of our residents.”
Saltburn-born Carla, spent several years working in a senior housing role within the City of London Corporation, before returning home to start The Ethical Lettings Agency. Her time spent in the capital inspired her to create the pledge, which she hopes will attract as many signatures as possible, to help create national change.
Carla, a long-standing Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing, added: “My experience working for various housing and public sector organisations had already convinced me there was a need in the market for an agency that provides a better service to landlords and tenants, which is why I set up The Ethical Lettings Agency.
“The Ethical Lettings Pledge is simply an extension of my vision and the company’s ethos, which is to shake up an industry which is letting people down time and time again, by making the system fairer.”
The Ethical Lettings Agency is open to all landlords and tenants in the Redcar and Teesside private rented sector. In particular, the Agency works with landlords to help manage their rental properties as a business, to reduce rental risks and save money.
Photo: Carla Keegans.