A NATIONAL sales and lettings agency has chosen a North East shopping centre to trial a pioneering new service.

Martin & Co – which has a network of more than 170 branches across the UK – has opened a new pop-up branch at Sunderland’s the Bridges which along with its traditional sales and lettings services, will be also running a landlord clinic.

The initiative follows recent changes in legislation surrounding landlords and tenancy agreements, which come into force on 1 June.

The Tenant Fees Act stops landlords from charging more than five weeks’ rent as a deposit, bans letting fees and disallows charges for damages without providing evidence of costs.

Landlords and tenants unsure about how the new legislation will affect them can now drop into the pop-up agency and get advice from Martin & Co Sunderland’s letting experts.

Martin & Co Sunderland director Chris Poulton, who runs the pop-up agency at The Bridges, said: “The Bridges shopping centre gives us great visibility at the heart of the city.

“The huge interest in buy-to-let in recent years has created a growing community of first-time landlords and our presence at The Bridges is aimed at ensuring they, along with more experienced landlords, understand how the new tenant fees legislation could affect them.

“We are also there to advise tenants as well as offering all the normal range of services you would expect from a sales and lettings agent like Martin & Co.”

Sellers, meanwhile, will also be able to take advantage of Martin & Co Sunderland’s on-the-spot valuation service at The Bridges pop-up agency.

“This is the first estate agent we have had in the Bridges,” said centre director, Andy Bradley, “and the service Martin & Co are offering will be completely unique, so we are delighted to welcome them.”

“It’s great to see a company adapting its service to meet the changing demands of the high street by providing a service which can not be matched online.”

For more information visit www.thebridges-shopping.com.