How Important is the ARLA Propertymark in Choosing a Letting Agent?
Landlords rely on a letting agent to take over the management, advertising, maintenance, and tenant communications linked to their rental properties, and need an agent they can trust to fulfil their expectations in terms of tenant care and professionalism.
One of the many ways to assess the quality and standard of a prospective letting agent is to evaluate the accreditations, quality marks and experience they have. A well-established letting agent will always be happy to discuss their capabilities, specialisms, and expertise.
Here are some of the industry-leading accreditations we hold, including the ARLA Propertymark, to explain what they mean and why they are a useful indicator of the service on offer.
What Is an ARLA-Approved Letting Agent?
Propertymark is a designation awarded by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), an industry body launched in 2017, absorbing several previous organisations. It focuses on industry standards and only accepts applicants who prove they meet the requirements.
Working with a Propertymark letting agent provides several assurances and safeguards, protecting the value of your rental property and guaranteeing that the agents you liaise with are trained and qualified to a suitably high standard.
Some of the advantages of working with an ARLA-approved agent include the following:
- Income protection through the Propertymark Client Money Protection Scheme, which applies to tenants and landlords. Any affected party could claim compensation if a dispute arose.
- Access to up-to-date professional knowledge, with agents required to demonstrate professional development to remain current regarding property law and legislation changes.
- Professional indemnity insurance, providing peace of mind that if you ever receive poor advice or experience substandard service, you will be backed by full coverage.
Every letting agent must comply with these mandatory requirements and submit accounts annually that have been independently audited, implementing robust checks, external verifications and ongoing commitments to excellence that provide a first-class service to their clients and tenants alike.
NAEA Propertymark Protection
Tod Anstee is also an NAEA Propertymark agent, although this applies to the estate agency aspect of our business. The same rigorous standards apply, ensuring that every landlord consults with an experienced agent at the forefront of current market knowledge and advice.
Letting and estate agents do not need to register with any compulsory supervisory body, and ARLA and NAEA membership is entirely voluntary and at the agents’ cost. However, this investment in standards, transparency and industry leadership is an important way to showcase a level of service unavailable elsewhere.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme Members
Letting agents, and landlords who manage their rental properties directly, must comply with government legislation around the handling of deposits. There are specific rules in place, which protect deposit funds and ensure landlords, or their representative agents, return funds at the end of a tenancy according to the regulations.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme is one of the compliant schemes which includes adjudication in the event of a dispute, which protects the interests of all involved.
Tenants are entitled to information about where their deposit is stored, how it is protected, and how that money is managed for the duration of the tenancy agreement.
The Guild of Property Professionals
Our membership of The Guild represents inclusion in a limited network of 800 selected property agents, chosen for high standards, knowledge-sharing, innovation, and outstanding customer service. Guild members are spread across the UK and are an exclusive group of the best property experts available.
The Guild provides access to dynamic technological resources, optimising the exposure every marketed rental property receives and increasing rental yields with reduced vacant periods owing to the enhanced promotion.
Tod Anstee follows The Guilds’ Trading Standards recognised industry training – the only one of its kind – which sets Guild members apart in terms of compliance and trust.
Registration With the Property Ombudsman
We also recommend you select a letting agent (or estate agent for sales transactions) registered with the Property Ombudsman (TPO) Scheme, which provides the approved code we display on our website.
This scheme delivers redress options in a conflict or disagreement, holding agents to stringent standards and implementing an independent, fast, and fair complaints resolution system.
The TPO Code of Practices sets out higher service level requirements than those otherwise enforced in the industry. Every verified member has demonstrated accurate record-keeping, ethical marketing policies, vigorous complaints procedures, and capable service and a commitment to adhering to all government guidelines.
Trading Standards Approved Code
Trading Standards sets various rules and regulations about how British businesses serve and support their customers. The Consumer Codes Approval Scheme is awarded to companies that meet the requirements and provide good service levels, including clear information and access to a complaints procedure.
Codes of practice apply, and the scheme aims to improve customer service standards by requiring diligent adherence to all rules and regulations. For example, members must hold appropriate insurance, comply with consumer protection laws, and avoid unprofessional practises such as cold calling or hard sales.
The Benefits of a Highly Accredited Letting Agent
Each of these standards or awards focuses on a slightly different aspect or area of the property letting market, but evidence whether a letting agent has successfully been granted membership, or has achieved the requisite professional standard to gain the accreditation.
Landlords need to know which standards to look out for to be able to clearly distinguish between a substandard agent without formal training, education or marketing networks and an established, talented team with wide-reaching skills and knowledge.
Choosing a letting agent with a broad range of accreditations ensures landlords are protected by redress schemes and receive improved service levels for themselves and their tenants with a significantly lower risk of error, extended vacancies, or tenant complaints.
Background checking can help you select a competent, professional property team with appropriate formal credentials and independent endorsements from recognised trade bodies.
Please contact our friendly letting team for more details about our accreditations and awards, including the Estate Agent Awards 2021 award for Best Agency Network, presented by The Guild of Property Professionals.