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  • Property-a-holics

    Strict licencing system for U.K. lettings agents launched .....

    A new licensing system for residential property letting agents has been launched in the UK to protect tenants from unscrupulous operators.
    The Association of Residential Letting Agents has set up the new scheme for its members in direct response to consumer demand after a survey found that 95% of tenants said they believed it was a good idea.
    The survey also found that it was a shock for many to learn that there was no such scheme in place.
    ARLA said that a growing number of and landlords are losing out to cowboy agents who offer no protection for clients' money, have professional indemnity insurance and who offer poor advice.
    Also cowboy operators have offer no protection for serious errors and have poor commitment to best practice any form of independent redress scheme for when things go wrong.
    ARLA said that its Licensing Scheme for its members will establish the highest standards for letting agents in the UK.
    'For too long the rental sector has been seen as the black sheep of the property market with a lack of regulation of and a requirement for redress to protect the consumer when the agent's failings are to the financial detriment of that consumer,' said Ruth Lilley, Head of Membership and Professional Development of ARLA.
    'The ARLA Licensing Scheme will create the gold standard for letting agents in the UK, offering consumers best practice service and advice as well as a commitment to the protection of their money,' she added.
    To qualify all ARLA members will need to hold a gold standard professional qualification relating to lettings, undertake continuing professional development, ensure they have client money protection schemes in place to protect all tenant and landlord funds held by their office and have an annual independent audit.
    They must also have professional indemnity insurance in place, must sign up to an independent redress scheme and must abide by a strict code of practice.
    ARLA's sister organisation, the National Association of Estate Agents is expected to follow suit with the launch of its own licensing scheme later this year.
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    Isn’t this typical though Vanessa - this is only via ARLA, the NAEA will follow with another and on we go again – these bodies already have ‘strict’ rules so they say so why launch yet more legislation that isn’t going to be effective. Nothing in here stops a letting agent being unregistered and trading.
    As a former letting agent myself registration to any scheme makes no difference at all to the integrity or quality of the agent. In fact oftentimes hiding behind ineffectual bodies can have the opposite effect of misleading tenants and landlords into believing they are protected.
    I recently sacked one of my agents after repeatedly being slow to pay me rents they had collected from the tenant. I had to threaten them with legal and criminal action if they didn’t hand over my money – at one stage they owed me four months rent they had collected from the tenant who was completely unaware I hadn’t received it. They turned up at my house with the cash and it literally looked like they had scraped it together amongst themselves yet it was supposedly in their bank account wasn’t it?
    These are a large and well known estate and letting agency in this area. I have heard of many other landlords receiving the same treatment and one former member of staff said he hasn’t been paid for 3 months - it is clear they are on their last legs. They have been in business 25 years and are ARLA and NAEA registered!!
    Lisa
    Read my blog at https://www.pipaforum.com/blog
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    Lisa All comments are for education and information purposes only and do not construe as advice or a financial promotion. No liability is accepted for comments made. If you wish to receive information in an advisory capacity then please contact me about becoming a client. www.keys-mortgages.com