In this article:
- Which are the leading professional bodies that oversee and govern letting agents
- A summary of each of the three bodies and what they provide
The world of renting is fraught with potential problems. These can lead to a lot of grief for tenants in many ways, especially if they are trying to find a property to rent on their own. That is why there are letting agents to do the donkey work for you. But even dealing with agents can bring its own headaches if they are not properly run.
That is why TTV advises tenants to make sure they use letting agents that are affiliated to a recognised governing body.
There are three main governing bodies:
- Association of Residential Letting Agents
- Safeagent (Previously The National Approved Letting Scheme)
- National Association of Estate Agents
If a letting agent has the logo or trademark name of any of these, you can be sure it is bound by certain rules and regulations that the professional body instructs its members to abide by in the course of their work.
Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
The Association of Residential Letting Agents is a professional body concerned with the self-regulation of letting agents. It was formed in 1981 and is involved in every aspect of residential lettings and management in the Private Rented Sector. ARLA is widely regarded as a leading voice in the industry by government and consumer groups, as well as the media, academics and think tanks.
Letting agents linked to ARLA are involved in over a quarter of a million new tenancies a year as well as arranging the renewal or extension of thousands more existing tenancies every month.
ARLA is also heavily involved in setting and regulating the highest standards in the industry and demands certain levels of professionalism and commitment to customer service from its membership.
ARLA operates a robust code of practice which members are required to work within. This covers the key stages in letting and managing a property and ensures compliance with such issues as handling and accounting for clients’ money; the mandatory ARLA Client Money Protection Scheme; Professional Indemnity Insurance; Dealing with Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures.
Letting agents affiliated to ARLA also have to employ a minimum of at least one member of staff in any office. They must hold a suitable industry qualification, recognised by the Association.
ARLA keeps its members up to date with changes in legislation and provides wide-ranging training and guidance to help members understand and interpret all aspects of letting and managing a property. You can learn more about ARLA here
A letting agent who is safeagent (previously NALS) licensed will display the organisation’s symbol/logo and provide the following safeguards for your tenancy:
- Accompany you on viewings of properties they rent out on behalf of their clients
- Liaise with the landlord if repairs or refurbishments are necessary to put the property into a fit state for letting
- Provide you with copies of safety certificates on gas and electrical appliances before your tenancy begins
- Advise you on your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and those of your landlord
- Advise you on insurance measures to cover your personal possessions
- Provide “a schedule” (details) of the condition of the property, plus an inventory of its contents
- Hold the deposit for you in a safe deposit scheme
- Provide assistance with sorting out accounts with utility providers and the Local Authority
- Always give you advanced notice of any site visit they must make to inspect the condition of the property (as per the tenancy agreement)
- Pass on your requests for repairs and maintenance to the landlord
- Give you prior notice when your tenancy is coming to an end
- Return your deposit to you as soon as possible minus appropriate deductions (should there be any)
Whether the letting agency is or is not employed to manage the property you have rented through them they will provide you with contact details of the landlord who should follow the above protocol in the same manner.
You can find out more about NALS by visiting their website here
National Association of Estate Agents
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) is one of the UK’s leading professional bodies for all aspects of estate agency including lettings. The NAEA was founded in 1962.
By using a Licensed NAEA agent you are guaranteed:
- Professional Indemnity Insurance is held by the agency which ensures you are financially covered for any members’ negligence, bad advice or mishandling of data
- To be served by a qualified and trained agent who can provide up-to-date advice and guidance with professionalism
- All agents and staff undertake Continuous Professional Development (CPD) each year to upgrade their skills
Agents join the Association via formal qualification. This ensures NAEA agents have the required knowledge and experience. Members operate under strict rules of conduct, must meet certain professional standards and practice ethically. NAEA agents are required to protect and promote their client’s interests, whilst acting fairly with the public.
If you are unfortunate enough to suffer as a result of malpractice by an NAEA estate agent, the Association can take disciplinary action on your behalf. Learn more about this governing body by visiting the NAEA website
- There are three main professional bodies responsible for governing letting agents
- TTV recommends when choosing a letting agent you ensure the agent is affiliated to one of these bodies
- These professional bodies are organisations to if you have a complaint about one of their letting agent members.
This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.
We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our Rights and responsibilities category.
If you experience problems with your tenancy deposit, have disrepair in your rented property or suspect that your landlord should have a licence to rent your property but does not have one then you can receive a free consultation by calling our advice service: Call Tenant Assist on 0333 344 3788.
For more ways to reach us, please visit our contacts page.