One of the tenancy deposit schemes has confirmed that if an agent displays its logo, it is no guarantee that it is actually using it to protect deposits.
The Deposit Protection Service has told EYE that this is correct.
The matter was raised in a series of twitter exchanges between the DPS and EYE regular PeeBee, who – like EYE – has been taking a close look at an agency which displays a large number of logos.
PeeBee asked the DPS: “How do we go about finding whether an agent is registered with you? Their website displays your logo – but it is displaying several that they aren’t members of.”
The DPS replied: “You would need to check with the agent directly. We only provide logos/stickers to agents who are registered, but even if they are registered, it is no guarantee that they will protect a deposit.”
To this PeeBee replied: “REALLY? 1. I have just ‘lifted’ your logo from the site in question. Took me three seconds – and I could load it on to my own site in another three. 2. What is the point of ‘DPS’ if what you say above is correct?”
The DPS responded, saying: “It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that the agent complies with current legislation.”
An unimpressed PeeBee responded: “I’m frankly amazed that you seem totally unconcerned that a company is displaying your logo – the ‘old’ one at that – POTENTIALLY without being authorised to do so. #Beggars_Belief”
EYE asked the DPS if it is correct that an agent displaying its logo does not guarantee it is actually using the service.
A spokesperson told us: “That is correct.
“Our website has an easy-to-use page where we encourage tenants to check whether their deposit is protected at the DPS (https://myaccount.depositprotection.com/#tenancy/checkDepositStatus), and if landlords have any questions about the status of deposits for their properties, they can contact us at any time to discuss.”
The use of logos by agents is covered by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
There have been a tiny handful of prosecutions brought against agents who have used logos they are not entitled to – typically, NAEA or ARLA.
However, agents who register, for example, with a tenancy deposit scheme and show its logo even if they never actually use the service, seem to be a different case.