Are you currently using an unlicensed firm, or have you used an unlicensed firm in the past? There has been a lot of talk recently regarding the need for regulation within the lettings industry due to the emergence of many more letting agencies without the background and attention to detail needed to successfully service landlords and tenants alike.
As an individual it has been my view that the self regulation, provided by ARLA for example, should be the minimum for anyone that holds a management position within the lettings industry. Holding an continually updating an ARLA certificate proves to both your clients and to yourself that you are fully capable of dealing with the job in hand, it shows that you have the appropriate money protection in place for both your landlords and tenants (via the Property Ombudsmen) and it also outlines the long term investment that a client is making when they choose your agency. Becoming a member of ARLA is a very detailed and time intensive process but in doing so it creates a better understanding of the needs of the industry and also provides the most recent legislation updates, legal cases and greater exposure to materials that will aid in the successful letting and management of your clients properties. More details of ARLA can be found at www.arla.co.uk
At Gordon Barker Residential Lettings we are ARLA licensed and as an individual I have a very good background in successful letting and management of properties and I would urge any landlord to consider the standard and reputation of the agent they are choosing and do some homework before doing so, I would even go as far as quizzing the agent on the worst case scenario’s and what they will do/how they will make sure they do not happen and what would be done to rectify the situation should it occur.
I have found a good article that is worth a read for any landlord looking for a reason why to choose a licensed agent and also outlines the need for regulation to avoid unlicensed agents providing substandard services and incorrect working practices. This can be found at http://www.lettingagenttoday.co.uk/news_features/Ombudsman-expels-agent-and-says-case-underlines-need-for-regulation
Please comment with your experiences and thoughts on this issue and come back to see the thoughts of others.