The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has updated its Code of Practice to counter wayward landlords and letting agents.
After taking about a year to develop, the code will be distributed to landlords, tenants, buy-to-let investors, tenants’ groups, consumer organisations, industry bodies and the government.
Adrian Turner, chief executive of ARLA, said: “We do not want to have to draw attention to failed unregulated agents. We want the public, tenants and landlords, to make the effort to understand what they should expect from properly regulated ARLA letting agents. Then perhaps tales of misery will stop.”
The code covers the principles and procedures governing terms of business, fees and charges, rent collection and management. It also highlights the handling of all client monies and how to deal with deposit disputes.
Marc Turner, head of sales at Abacus, welcomed the updated code, but felt ARLA needed to do more to up its profile and tell people exactly what it does. He said: “I do not think it gets a lot of publicity and not enough people are aware of it.”
At a time when the buy-to-let market is very buoyant and more landlords are coming into the sector, Turner said it was important for a body like ARLA to make its voice heard.
ARLA said problems had been highlighted by recent media attention on unregistered letting agents. One from Brighton had disappeared with client monies, and another from Nottingham had been found guilty of keeping tenants’ deposits.