What Is ARLA And Why It Matters?
It was recently announced that ARLA is going to be rebranding to propertymark and will be rolling out an advertising campaign to try and raise consumer awareness. It is likely that you have either never heard of ARLA or know the name but don’t know much about it and what it means for you as a Landlord. ARLA stands for the Association of Residential Letting Agents and is the main regulatory body for the lettings industry. However with membership being voluntary many letting agents aren’t members and in Derby there are just 13 ARLA members out of more than 50 letting agents. Below are a couple of the key reasons you should make sure you use an ARLA regulated letting agent.
Your Money Is Safe
One of the most important requirements of ARLA membership is for agents to have a ring-fenced client account which is independently audited on an annual basis to ensure clients and business monies are kept separate. In addition ARLA members all hold client money protection insurance as part of their membership meaning that their customer’s monies are kept entirely safe. It’s a similar principle to using a ABTA protected travel agent and even if you were getting a cheap deal you would probably be very reluctant to book your holiday through a non ABTA protected travel agency. A letting agent will potentially be collecting a lot of money on your behalf and by using an ARLA member you know that this is protected.
There has been a raft of new and updated legislation affecting the lettings industry over the last few years from right to rent and deposit protection amendments through to smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations. Even if you have a letting agent managing your property you still as the property owner bear ultimate legal responsibility for ensuring your tenancy is run in accordance with the law. It’s therefore essential to make sure that your letting agent has sufficient expertise and experience to ensure things are done properly. An easy way to spot this is to look for a ARLA member as in order to become a member in the first place you have to pass an exam demonstrating sufficient industry and legal knowledge as well as committing to continual professional development. This means that even as legislation changes your agent will always be able to make sure you remain compliant.
Most letting agents will tell you that they are experts and offer a great service so from a Landlord’s perspective if everyone is saying something similar then how do you decide who to choose? Looking for ARLA membership can act as a short cut as by only considering an ARLA member you get piece of mind as you know they will have a qualified team and your money will be protected. You can easily search for ARLA members via the ARLA website here; http://www.arla.co.uk/#find-an-expert