Landlords may need qualifications

During my time in the lettings industry, I’ve been an RICS qualified member. I was shocked to discover at a recent seminar that only seven per cent of those working in the lettings industry actually hold a recognised industry qualification….only 7%!!!

It would seem that there are around 55 agents advertising properties working in the Bury St Edmunds and our operational area. So that means that of those the majority are un-qualified.

If you are a landlord, do check what training your agent has had and whether they up to date with what’s happening in the world of lettings and property management. In the last few years there has been an accelerating number of pieces of legislation applicable to the lettings’ industry and at the last count it now totals 158….and counting. Is your agent keeping you abreast of what these changes are? And more to the point the implications for you as a landlord.

It has been calculated that an agent can protect the owner/landlord from potentially £139,000 per property of fines by ensuring that all the relevant legislation is complied with.

So what is happening to protect you, whether you are a landlord offering one of your biggest assets for rental or if you are a tenant wanting reassurance that your home is safe and well managed? The answer is it would seem is RoPA (Regulation of Property Agents). The introduction of RoPA is now a given and it will be reacted within the next 18 months to 2 years.

So how will it affect your letting/managing agent?

  • All agents will need to be licensed.
  • All staff within those agencies will need to comply with a code od practice and also be licensed
  • All staff carrying out customer facing and “reserved activities” will need to be qualified to ARLA Level 3 or above
  • All directors and management agents will need to be qualified to ARLA Level 4
  • A new regulator ill be appointed to oversee compliance with the code of practice

All of the above matters are still in consultation and discussion so are likely to change.

And that is not all. Where an agent offers a Tenant Find service and the owner/landlord takes on the management of the property then there will be direct contact with the tenant. Does the landlord understand about the rights of tenants and the obligations of landlords/owners? Does the landlord/owner keep up to speed with all the legislative changes?

At the moment the short answer is “probably not”. Well, this situation may very well change too in the next few years. It looks as if all private sector residential rental landlords will need to be registered too, whether they use a licensed agent to manage the property for them or not. Therefore all self-managing landlords will need to hold a recognised industry standard qualification too.

Agents are going to have to invest in their teams (many will have to invest all the way from the top down). This must be a good thing since nearly 25% of the population are living in private sector rental properties and there must be a professional approach across the board.

At Hazells we have been suitably qualified for many years being members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and  Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). We have consistently attended seminars plus legal up date presentations to make sure we can provide our landlord clients with up to date advice. We will follow the progress and implementation of RoPA closely and make sure we continue to keep abreast of all legislative changes.