The Buy With Confidence award complements our existing accreditation with the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and SAFE Agents Scheme which includes comprehensive yearly accounts audits, membership of the Property Ombudsman and membership of the Client Money Protection Scheme (a scheme for Rental Agents similar to the travel industry ABTA, which protects clients money).
The Association of Residential Letting Agents, ARLA, is the only professional body that is solely concerned with the self-regulation of letting agents and for nearly 25 years has been actively promoting the highest standards across every aspect of residential lettings and management in the Private Rented Sector. ARLA is viewed by government, consumer groups, academia, think tanks and the media as the leading voice in the industry.
ARLA members are seen as being at the forefront of the Private Rented Sector, ready, willing and able to comply with existing and anticipated government legislation.
Why Should A Landlord Or Tenant Seek Out An ARLA Member?
Probity and Protection - ARLA leads the industry 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 members are required to work within a robust Code of Practice, which covers the key stages in letting and managing a property. There are comprehensive membership Byelaws which include compliance with such issues as handling and accounting for Clients money; the mandatory ARLA Client Money Protection Bonding Scheme; Professional Indemnity Insurance; Dealing with Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures. ARLA members are required to employ a minimum of at least one member of staff, in any office, who holds 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 members.
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) Scheme provides a free, fair and independent service for dealing with unresolved disputes between member agents and tenants and landlords of property in the UK. The TPO is a member of the British and Irish Ombudsman Association and follows the standards and rules of the association. The Ombudsman is totally independent of the TPO Scheme member agents.
The Ombudsman reports directly to the TPO Council, which has a majority of non-industry members.
Why should you choose a letting agent who is a member of the TPO Scheme?
Member agents must follow the The Property Ombudsman Letting Code of Practice. This sets out the framework within which member agents must operate and the standards of service they must provide for both tenants and landlords.
The Code is compulsory and is rigorously applied in our complaints handling.
The agent is required and has agreed to have Professional Indemnity Insurance to ensure that any compensation awarded to you can be paid.
The agent agrees to pay compensation, in full and final settlement of the complaint, if this is awarded by the Ombudsman and is accepted by you as the complainant. This award must be paid promptly. The maximum that the Ombudsman can award is £25,000.
In the rare case that an agent fails repeatedly to follow the rules of the scheme, the agent can be reprimanded or expelled from the TPO Scheme.
What is Client Money Protection and what does it mean?
It means that should the agent misappropriate your rent, deposit or other funds the insurer of the scheme will consider a claim to compensate you. This operates in the same way as the ABTA Bond for your holiday.
Are there any limits to this cover?
ARLA through their scheme will compensate a landlord or tenant up to a limit of £25,000. The total payable in respect of a member company would be £500,000. In any one year the scheme has a limit of £3 million.
Can I check that my agent’s claim of belonging to the Client Money Protection Scheme is genuine?
Yes, go to www.arla.co.uk and carry out a search under the find a member section.
We are an "approved by Trading Standards" firm having been awarded the prestigious "Buy With Confidence" accreditation, to be awarded the accreditation companies must::
Have all staff CRB (Criminal Record Background) checked
Trading Standards check of company financials and insurances
Have references taken from existing customers
Have a full onsite audit by Trading Standards
Have all agreements and contracts approved for fairness and transparency
Safe Agent Fully Endorsed is a mark denoting firms that protect landlords and tenants money through client money protection schemes.
All agents regulated by ARLA must maintain and operate separate designated client accounts where your money is held completely separate from the operating funds of the firm. If the agent you are using cannot provide you with the assurance of knowing they are covered by a client money protection scheme the question you need to ask is why not?
The DPS scheme is the only deposit scheme secured with UK Government approved banks. It is the only government authorised custodial deposit scheme.
It offers an independent and free Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service which will aim to resolve any disputes quickly and without the need for court action.