There has been a noticeable increase in the number of letting agents and the number of prosecutions of rogue letting agents is sadly growing at an alarming rate. The industry is largely unregulated, with almost anyone being able to open up a letting business and consequently conducting negotiations, drawing up contracts and handling client monies. Even worse – there are around 120 pieces of legislation affecting the work and conduct of a letting agent, yet there is currently no compulsion for agents to attend any form of professional training whatsoever.
When entrusting the letting of your investment to an agent, we therefore strongly advise that you make sure that they are members of ARLA – the Association of Residential Letting Agents, part of Propertymark, which is the only professional self-regulating body to be solely concerned with the detailed and specific requirements of the lettings industry.
Membership is only achieved when agents can demonstrate that they have a thorough knowledge of their profession and that they conduct their business according ARLA’s stringent code of Practice. This provides a framework of ethical and professional standards at a level far higher than the law demands and is regarded as the benchmark for professionalism in the industry.
The Association runs a series of meetings, training courses and seminars both nationally and locally to ensure that members are kept fully up to date with the latest best practice and legislation. Membership rules require all member offices to have professionally qualified staff and client bank accounts are rigorously audited annually. Members are also required to have professional indemnity insurance cover as well as being covered by ARLA’s bonding scheme which provides financial protection for client monies in the case of misappropriation.
Needless to say we are full members of ARLA, providing our clients in the Cheltenham and Gloucester area with complete peace of mind.