Quick update of the ARLA conference 1st March 2011

ARLA is the Association of Residential Letting Agents

I always love March, it is really when the year starts for me because the nights are starting to get a little lighter, the market is really starting to hot up and a sense of optimism is in the air.  On top of that, the first of March is the ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) Conference at Hammersmith’s Novotel, with a list of fabulous industry speakers, a trade show with some really informative stands, and the chance to meet up with lots of old friends and industry colleagues, hear all of the latest gossip and panic myself with all of the legislation updates about to happen!!

So I thought I would try to list some of the main information in this blog, of course I can’t write a whole day’s worth of information in one article, so these are highlights and what I feel are the important issues and I invite you to respond with any questions you have or anything you would like more information on.

Firstly I would like to say that the association is in it’s 30th year, the actual birthday is 11th June so we really look forward to celebrating with them.

There are now 5919 members of ARLA and 878 members passed their Technical Award in Residential Lettings & Property Management during 2010.  At Sewell & Gardner we have 8 individual members of ARLA, 2 are Fellows and we are exceptionally proud of this membership and what it means to our customers.  Last year our own Julia Pennell passed her Technical Award to join the ranks of myself Jane Gardner, Alex Sewell, Rochelle Latham, Ben Smith & Susie Griffiths.  This year we have 2 more team members studying for their exams – Reagan Bradley & Donna Waldron.

Susan Hughes-Thomas, ARLA president and local agent from The Home Management in Bushey, mentioned that it is our member firm’s duty to inform customers of what ARLA means to them and these are the key points:

  • Qualified staff available to ensure that correct advice is given at all times
  • Separate client bank accounts which are ring-fenced and have Client Money Protection insurance
  • Professional indemnity insurance is in place
  • Fully bonded, for the customer’s peace of mind in an uncertain climate
  • Members of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme or alternative deposit protection solution

Sue stated that without qualifications, training or scruples, unregulated letting agents are fooling an unsuspecting public and they are making fools of the law, which does little so stop them.   Sue stated “Today’s cowboy agents blend seamlessly into the high street, camouflaged by smart offices, slick patter and even by websites bearing logos (some even use the ARLA logo without being members – check the ARLA website to be certain www.arla.co.uk) they are in our territory and after our reputation”.  Sue shared some recent research she had independently undertaken and worryingly the research illustrated that there is still a lack of awareness about ARLA and the security it can provide to tenants and landlords alike.

Next up was Peter Bolton-King, chief executive of NFoPP who, amongst many topics, mentioned the shortage across the UK of rental stock.  The Private Rental Sector accounted for 9% of households in 1997 and is now 16% with a further projected rise to 21% over the next 8 years.  We have an increase of 250,000 households each year and barely more than 120,000 new homes being built, so there is a massive need for more rental properties.  Of course there are financial issues for potential landlords in securing buy to let mortgages, but gradually the mortgage lenders are coming back into the market and offering some great deals.

Check out our mortgage advisors 01442 232272.

Another factor that might cause an issue for Rental Stock over the coming years is that possible future legislation could mean that 750,000 properties in the rental sector, which are currently in the bottom 2 Energy Performance bands (F & G), could be removed from the market unless they are brought up to a higher standard under the government incentive to meet reductions in energy efficiency.  If you have a rented property in the Three Rivers District or Watford Council area with an Energy Efficiency Rating of F or G, please start to consider improvements to your property before it is too late.  For more information on local grants available call 0800 980 6026 (freephone) or visit www.heepgrant.org.

During the lunch break we were able to wander around the trade show and catch up with some of the fabulous industry suppliers we already deal with and hear all about the new products and services they will be offering us in the coming months.  Our favourite has to be the Homelet stand, which had a brilliant magician Etienne performing tricks for our entertainment, including a champagne bottle which disappeared through a wooden table in front of an audience with 100 eager eyes watching (terrible waste of champagne of course) plus a whole pick n mix sweetie display to give us a much needed afternoon sugar rush!

In the afternoon session we heard from Steve Harriott, Chief Executive of the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) who mirrored the concerns of Susan Hughes-Thomas, that the public need to be educated about how ARLA’s deposit protection requirements mean that member firms will have fully protected client money and will be members of a deposit protection scheme.    “Market forces cannot be relied on to set standards.  Only well informed customers can know what they should buy into and so be able to demand high standards of service and protection and understand the dangers posed by cowboy letting agents” said Mr Harriott.  He stated, with billions of pounds in rents and deposits at stake, it is surprising that tenants still do not know enough to ask if their money is safe.

“Fully informed tenants would want to know about the property and the rent, the quality of the letting agent and how their rent and deposit would be protected.  They would want to see league tables setting out fee levels, service standards and complaint and dispute handling performance.  Uninformed customers lead to market failure.  This allows unqualified rogue agents to continue in business, reduce rates to the bone to win business and drive quality firms to the wall.  Then, when the going gets tough they steal their clients’ money and do further damage to the reputation of regulated agents.”

“Agents are in a position of trust, just like MPs, but rogue letting agents appear to be treated more leniently.  The courts are locking up MPs who steal £13,000 but ignoring agents who steal hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

 

Last speaker of the day was Marveen Smith, principal of Pain Smith Solicitors and it was fabulous to know that we have Marveen and her team at the end of the telephone line for all of those quirky issues we come up against and need guidance on.  A couple of reminders on best practice:

1. Section 21 Notices must not be served at the outset of the tenancy or before the security deposit has been protected.  The intention of a Section 21 is to notify the tenant that you wish to regain possession of the property and if you give it to the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy, then what happens if you wish to offer a renewal or periodic tenancy?  Even if you are certain that you will want the property back at the end of the fixed term, a lot can change in 6 or 12 months and it often does!  Serve the notice when you are 100% certain that you want possession back, not beforehand.

2. The security deposit cannot be used as rent during the tenancy, and can only be used from the deposit at the end of the tenancy with the written confirmation of both parties to the tenancy agreement.  If you hold any tenant money other than the rent paid in accordance with the tenancy agreement (so if the tenant pays 2 months rent in advance, then the tenancy agreement must state that) then this money is classed as a security deposit and must be protected in accordance with Housing Act legislation.  In short, you cannot take ‘rent in advance’ as a way of trying to get around deposit protection legislation!

3. If your tenant receives a Section 21 or Section 8 notice and does not leave… this is not license to change the locks and put their stuff outside!  You CANNOT gain possession of your property unless the tenant leaves amicably or you have a possession order from the County Court.  Even then, if the tenant does not leave on the date set on the possession order, you have to apply to the court bailiff to attend the property to gain possession in the legal way.  If not, you could end up with a hefty fine or imprisonment so be warned.

TTFN, Letting Angel

50 Responses to “Quick update of the ARLA conference 1st March 2011”

  1. I love the way you write and also the theme on your blog. Did you code this yourself? I’m very very impressed.

  2. Tracey Brancanto on March 9th, 2011 at 6:41 am
  3. Great blog! You should start many more. I love all the info thanks I will stay tuned :)

  4. SEO Services on March 9th, 2011 at 7:27 pm
  5. I think this blog post was probably a good kick off to a potential series of articles about this topic. A lot of bloggers act like they comprehend what they are preaching about when it comes to this area and really, nearly no one actually get it. You seem to really dominate it though, so I think you should run with it. Thank you!

  6. Deane Hesselbein on March 10th, 2011 at 11:38 pm
  7. Thanks for writing this article.

  8. 1968 Shelby parts on March 14th, 2011 at 12:50 pm
  9. I like the blog, but could not discover how to subscribe to obtain the updates by email.

  10. 1967 Shelby parts on March 14th, 2011 at 7:11 pm
  11. I’ll be sharing this with my network. Very pleased with your style, thanks! I will come here again.

  12. Guillermo Arledge on March 16th, 2011 at 8:10 pm
  13. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  14. Lacrosee on March 17th, 2011 at 1:20 am
  15. Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing. i bookmarked this! :)

  16. Shelby on March 18th, 2011 at 5:15 pm
  17. I’ve been visiting your site for a long time and I always find a great informations.

  18. 1968 Camaro parts on March 18th, 2011 at 7:49 pm
  19. Nice blog here.. did you design it yourself or was it made by a professional company? Really nice choice of colors

  20. 1967 Camaro parts on March 18th, 2011 at 8:43 pm
  21. I like your post on this, thanks for the advice

  22. 1994 Camaro parts on March 19th, 2011 at 4:43 pm
  23. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?

  24. Deadra Hanagan on March 20th, 2011 at 1:08 am
  25. Very interesting, thank you for sharing!

  26. 網站設計 on March 20th, 2011 at 9:34 am
  27. This is great information for writers. Thanks.

  28. 1969 Camaro on March 20th, 2011 at 9:34 am
  29. Well spoken. Certainly something to start thinking about, we will have to all remain tuned in to specifically what is happening around us and article certainly has tuned my awareness level up. Thanks

  30. keyword research on March 20th, 2011 at 12:01 pm
  31. Hi, Neat post. There is a problem with your site in web explorer, might check this… IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a large component to folks will leave out your great writing due to this problem.

  32. Madge Bonte on March 21st, 2011 at 4:05 am
  33. Very good article, well written and very thought out.

  34. Eaton on March 22nd, 2011 at 5:48 am
  35. Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.

  36. Ganas on March 22nd, 2011 at 10:57 am
  37. Greetings I am so glad I found your web site, I really found you by accident, while I was looking on Bing for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a marvelous post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the fantastic work.

  38. Helga Frisco on March 23rd, 2011 at 3:59 pm
  39. You can certainly see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  40. Baby on March 29th, 2011 at 3:58 am
  41. Hi, adore your site..please do research out my internet site at conditions and escape from your comment. thanks

  42. vitamin b12 supplement on March 29th, 2011 at 10:19 am
  43. Hey this is really nice information. I was looking for something similar like this. Thanks for this useful information.

  44. Scot Wigham on March 31st, 2011 at 4:43 am
  45. Interesting article. Thank you.

  46. Best white tea on April 2nd, 2011 at 12:02 pm
  47. Very interesting info, i am waiting for more !!! Keep updating your blog and you will have a lot o readers

  48. prohormones for sale on April 2nd, 2011 at 5:50 pm
  49. Excellent blog post, I look forward to reading more.

  50. Cheap 1994 Camaro parts on April 2nd, 2011 at 8:04 pm
  51. Nice blog here.

  52. John Camaro on April 3rd, 2011 at 6:44 am
  53. Great post, I admire the writing style :) A little off topic here but what theme are you using? Looks pretty cool.

  54. How do I Get my ex boyfriend back on April 3rd, 2011 at 9:08 pm
  55. Thanks for another great article. Where else could anybody get that kind of info in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.

  56. Leslie Rajtar on April 4th, 2011 at 2:06 am
  57. Some really excellent articles on this web site , appreciate it for contribution.

  58. Bradley Calhoun on April 4th, 2011 at 5:13 pm
  59. Hey this is really nice information. I was looking for something similar like this. Thanks for this useful information.

  60. Marissa Pettersen on April 4th, 2011 at 7:30 pm
  61. This blog seems to get a renowned deal of visitors. How do you advertise it? It gives a nice individual twist on things. I guess having something real or substantial to talk about is the most important factor.

  62. Ervin Blakenship on April 4th, 2011 at 7:47 pm
  63. I must admit this post is very wonderful . Thanks once again for the push!

  64. burberry bag on April 4th, 2011 at 8:02 pm
  65. This is very guide. I need to say I really like reading this article a lot. It can help me to get better knowledge of about the subject. It is very well written and published. I will definitely see this content material incredibly fascinating. I really hope you are able to supply more one day.

  66. easy fast cash on April 5th, 2011 at 12:46 am
  67. This is very useful information. I need to say I really like reading this article a great deal. It aids me to get better grasp about the subject. It is very well published. I’ll definitely search for this specific content incredibly intriguing. I really hope you could present more sooner or later.

  68. 24 hour fast cash on April 5th, 2011 at 4:03 am
  69. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read something like this before. So good to find any individual with some authentic ideas on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this web site is one thing that’s needed on the net, someone with somewhat originality. helpful job for bringing something new to the internet!

  70. acrylic paint on fabric on April 5th, 2011 at 3:28 pm
  71. I admire the useful information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and also have my children check up right here frequently. I’m very certain they’ll discover lots of new things here than anyone else!

  72. Seymour Selvaggi on April 5th, 2011 at 6:29 pm
  73. I simply want to say I am beginner to weblog and honestly enjoyed you’re web site. Almost certainly I’m want to bookmark your website . You actually have excellent articles. Thanks a lot for revealing your blog site.

  74. Silvia Hynds on April 5th, 2011 at 6:43 pm
  75. You can definitely see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  76. juristische Übersetzung on April 5th, 2011 at 9:39 pm
  77. I am not rattling excellent with English but I come up this very easygoing to understand .

  78. Debt Help Scotland on April 5th, 2011 at 10:46 pm
  79. The article is very excellent.Let me learn a lot of knowledge.

  80. Call Girls on April 6th, 2011 at 5:08 am
  81. Thank you for this article. Looking forward to next one.

  82. bizuteria on April 6th, 2011 at 10:36 am
  83. I normally don’t place comments but in this instance I feel it is bonded. This was a useful news story.

  84. domain name coupon on April 6th, 2011 at 3:43 pm
  85. Good post. I study something more difficult on completely different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to learn content from other writers and observe somewhat something from their store. I’d favor to use some with the content on my blog whether you don’t mind. Natually I’ll offer you a hyperlink in your web blog. Thanks for sharing.

  86. studia prawo on April 6th, 2011 at 4:41 pm
  87. Very informative blog post, grabbed your feed and will stay updated!

  88. cornwall self catering on April 6th, 2011 at 7:02 pm
  89. This was some really good information and facts you displayed relating to this topic. I wouldn’t agree with every little thing, but you undoubtedly produced some really good points.

  90. Adan on April 6th, 2011 at 11:31 pm
  91. I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one today..

  92. abs ii on April 7th, 2011 at 2:02 am
  93. I must say, as a lot as I enjoyed reading what you had to say, I couldnt help but lose interest after a while. Its as if you had a wonderful grasp to the topic matter, but you forgot to include your readers. Perhaps you should think about this from additional than one angle. Or maybe you shouldnt generalise so much. Its better if you think about what others may have to say instead of just going for a gut reaction to the topic. Think about adjusting your personal believed process and giving others who may read this the benefit of the doubt.

  94. hosting on April 7th, 2011 at 2:37 am
  95. I just want to tell you that I am newbie to blogging and seriously enjoyed you’re web-site. Likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You actually come with really good articles and reviews. Thanks a bunch for revealing your website page.

  96. Francisco Mad on April 7th, 2011 at 3:02 am
  97. This website won’t show up appropriately on my i phone – you may want to try and fix that

  98. how tall is Gisele Bundchen on April 7th, 2011 at 5:05 am
  99. Thank you for this article!

  100. programy do ściągania on April 14th, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Leave a Reply