Liverpool's leading independent estate agency firm Sutton Kersh, is celebrating after 9 of their lettings negotiators were recently awarded the ARLA qualification.
ARLA, the Association of Residential Letting Agencies, is the professional and regulatory body for letting agents in the UK. Over 3500 letting agents in the UK are now members of the scheme, which was established in 1981 to promote standards in this important and growing area of the property market. Members are bound to strict codes of conduct that are classified as the minimum service standards expected in the industry. Those found to be in breach of these codes can be fined and in some cases excluded.
The lack of regulation in the property industry in general has been a much disputed area for many years. Whilst a number of professional regulatory organisations exist including the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents, membership to all or any of these schemes is not mandatory, allowing anyone regardless of qualifications or experience, to set up their own property sales or lettings business.
The decline of the residential sales market has seen an increased demand for rented accommodation. This has led to a growth of inexperienced and unregulated letting agents. Landlords should think twice before instructing an unregulated letting agent as they are also likely to fail to register tenants deposits with one of the recognised schemes. In some cases unregulated agents have ceased trading and this has resulted in tenants deposits being lost.
It is therefore important that home-owners and landlords are aware of such schemes and look out for the relevant logos when instructing an agent to protect themselves.
Phil Lawton, director at Sutton Kersh comments, "Sutton Kersh is a long standing member of many of the consumer protection and professional regulatory schemes . Whilst there are time commitments and cost implications associated with joining, we feel that our clients benefit from a better quality service as a result of it. The 100% pass rate achieved by our lettings team in their ARLA examinations makes me very proud. It illustrates the high level of commitment that exists amongst the team and provides peace of mind to clients that they are dealing with recognised professionals that possess up-to-date knowledge of the marketplace."