A planned scheme for licensing landlords will help to protect tenants – but won’t cover all landlords.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla) today announced it is introducing a scheme for licensing its UK members, and it has a new code of practice for letting agents.
Which? Legal Service lawyer Espe Fuentes said: ‘We receive many calls from people who have issues with their landlords. Most are about poor living conditions and problems with landlords still not putting deposits into the deposit scheme.
‘Arla’s licensing system is a step in the right direction. However, at a minimum, we’d like to see all letting agents and landlords required to join a compulsory complaints scheme. Many people have suffered for too long at the hands of unscrupulous landlords and letting agents’
It’s been reported that a national registration system to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords is part of proposals to be considered by the government.
The Department of the Communities and Local Government said it would not yet confirm details of its response to an independent review into the private rented sector.
Which? has advice on renting a home. It includes how to protect yourself from dodgy landlords – take a look at our free guide on how to view rental properties.
Code of practice
Members of the Arla scheme will have to adhere to a code of practice, hold a professional qualification linked to letting, undertake further training and have professional indemnity insurance.
They will also need to sign up to an independent redress scheme, have systems in place to protect the money they are holding for clients or tenants and have an annual independent audit carried out on clients’ funds.
If you’re looking to rent out property, then see the Which? guide to letting agreements.
Arla’s sister organisation, the National Association of Estate Agents, plans to the launch its own licensing scheme later this year.
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