Propertymark is working with an organisation called the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance to inform agents how to sport signs and respond to cases.
The latest guidance - available to Propertymark agent members via the NAEA and ARLA websites - has been prompted by the fear that the current lockdown and other Coronavirus restrictions have indirectly led to the abused being effectively trapped at home and unable to escape their abusers.
The advice applies across the board but Propertymark says letting agents and landlords are in what it calls “a unique position to spot potential warning signs such as unexplained damage to the property, requests for lock changes and repairs, recurring repairs and the accumulation of rent arrears.”
The organisation says that while there is no legal requirement for agents to act on or report domestic abuse, it wants the industry to have a wider understanding of these issues and consider appropriate actions that can be taken.
“Offering a helpful response requires a basic awareness of what domestic abuse is and a couple of simple strategies for responding to it if it is suspected” says Propertymark.
“That’s why, together with DAHA, Propertymark has updated their guidance for member agents which looks at: What domestic abuse is; Some of the different forms of abuse; Steps you can take as part of your role as a landlord or agent; and Further information and support” explains Propertymark.
There is also more information on the DAHA website here.
In recent months the police in one area of the country made a direct appeal to estate agents to explain how to spot the signs of domestic abuse.
The Safer Lincolnshire Partnership’s #cutitout campaign in February this year gave agents and some other professionals tell-tale signs to look for.
At the time Jade Sullivan, domestic abuse coordinator at the Safer Lincolnshire Partnership, said: “We know the relationship between these professionals and their clients is often close and they can potentially help spot the signs of abuse that others might not see.
"Survivors have told us they have made visits to estate agents and have trusted them with their plans to try to break free from abuse.
"These professionals are experienced listeners, personally interested in the lives of those around them. Clients tend to feel comfortable talking to them and confiding in them.”