The Independent Network of Estate Agents says it is worried that the so-called ‘pension freedom’ created by relaxations in over-55s accessing their pension pots may lead to poorly-advised or amateur pensioner investors losing their money.
In a media statement, the INEA’s Trevor Mealham warns that many property ‘gurus’ are advising property investors - sometimes people investing in real estate for the first time - and leading them to “deals that are questionable.”
The worry is exacerbated by the fact that the gurus in question are not subject to the official property redress schemes applying to legitimate estate and letting agents, he says.
“Whilst bona fide estate and letting agents run under redress, the property scam artists (often with front people under them) run easy-to-find 'property investor' websites and often do seminars and stands at property expo's” says Mealham.
“But what will happen when Mr and Mrs Over 55 lose their pension and in their twilight years end up in debt, or even losing their own home?” he asks.
Mealham claims that a typical scam may be to offer over-valued properties where a guaranteed percentage return is promised for two, three or four years - where the original over-valuation is what makes the promised return possible.
“I'm not saying all such investment schemes are scams - but many to those in the industry appear to good to be true” he says, adding that the big fear is that what started as pension liberation could become pension liability or, at worst, pension lost.