Landlords entering the buy-to-let market for the first time should be trained, in order to attain a level of professionalism according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
ARLA, which has called for an alliance between the private rented sector, regulated social landlords, housing agencies and the Government wants to provide a single body within the letting industry.
Malcolm Harrison, spokes-person at ARLA, said: ‘If you’re new to the market and are entering a buy-to-let scheme, you need to be trained by a letting agent. You have got to learn the job and a new buy-to-let investor is much safer working through a regulated letting agent.’
John Heron, managing director at Paragon, agreed: ‘Individuals becoming landlords for the first time are possibly unaware of the full complexity of the business they are engaging in.
‘Owning a residential property and letting it is presented as an investment opportunity which can be a danger for new people entering the market. Investors must be aware of the full complexity and seeking a greater knowledge makes sense.’
ARLA also said that more needs to be done to ensure that tenants only rent through fully bonded and qualified agents, highlighting a need for more knowledgeable landlords.
By forming an affiliation between industry members, ARLA believes the letting market would become standardised.
ARLA has also called for a review of the rules on benefit fraud and of the proposed regulation of ‘houses in multiple occupation’ which ARLA believes could force landlords out of the market.
John Crossley, chairman at ARLA, said: ‘In Scotland, legislation is in place to trap all accommodation occupied by more than two unrelated tenants. This will include ordinary small flats and houses where rigorous hotel type standards will be imposed and expensive licences and planning consents will also be required.’
‘We do not want to see in England and Wales the potential destruction of the rental market for sharers.’