Picking An ARLA Registered Letting Agent Can Be The Key To Successful Property Letting For Landlords

Using an ARLA certified letting agent can be the key to successful property management for Landlords – that’s the view of one Peterborough letting agent – Optimum Lettings.

With the horror stories of unregulated agents using deposit monies as little more than an interest free loan to keep their business afloat, landlords are warned to be more careful when initially choosing which agent to use to let their property for them and choose from the regulated agents only.

In an industry largely unregulated, and with few entry barriers for new companies it’s easy for a landlord to be hoodwinked into choosing an agent that gives them the best sales patter, or the most favourable rate. However, many of these same agents offering the low rates are often the ones that have no commitment to the regulatory bodies that exist within the lettings sector, and consequently no obligation to hold client money in a separate account.

This is where it can all go horribly wrong for a landlord as if an agent has no regulatory body to answer to they are in control of all of the client funds that they hold themselves – and when times are tough temptation can be too much!

It can of course be counter argued that any agent, regulated or not, has access to the funds in their own accounts and so are liable to the same level of deception from within. However, the key point is that the agents regulated by ARLA will have separate Client Money Protection in place. This means that even if a malicious agent ran off with the deposit money then , if the agency is regulated by ARLA, the landlord would be covered by an insurance policy allowing them to recoup all losses suffered.

Kristian Robinson, director at Optimum Lettings & Property Management , ensures that his company is regulated by ARLA. He said:

“I can’t believe that there is no legal obligation for all firms within the lettings industry to be regulated. With the continued growth in the Buy to Let sector the industry is rapidly expanding. Yet it seems that anyone could choose to launch a lettings agency without any experience or gaining any form of qualification. Many of the assets that letting agencies hold are higher in value than the landlord would trust his bank with, yet the chasm in regulatory obligations between the two industries is astounding.

That’s why at Optimum Lettings & Property Management we have entered into membership of ARLA. It costs money to do so and you need to be qualified. I feel that this shows a level of commitment to our landlord clients that shows that we are professional and adhere to professional practices above and beyond the norm expected within our industry. Many Peterborough letting agents have chosen not to do so. That’s entirely their decision but I would question why any landlord would choose to use an unregulated agent, especially in the current uncertain climate of the economy.

As a landlord myself I know that landlords want to feel secure with their agent and have the hassle taken away from letting the property out. This includes the financial side of things. It’s all very well having an unregulated agent offer you rent guarantee cover but if he can then turn around and run off with your money what’s the point? I’d take comfort as a landlord in knowing that my agent had to perform to set standards and procedures and that, even if for some reason they didn’t, my money was safe anyway.”

As is evident from Mr Robinson’s statement, it seems that for a secure long-term investment a landlord is best to plump for the letting agent with the best credentials rather than the best sales pitch!

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