The Association of Residential Letting Agents is the UK's foremost professional body for letting agents.
ARLA was formed in 1981 as the professional and regulatory body for letting agents in the UK. It was recognised that the requirements of the residential lettings market were so detailed and specific that a separate organisation was required to promote standards in this important and growing sector of the property market.
ARLA’s key roles include providing help and guidance for property professionals across a broad spectrum of disciplines while continually campaigning across the UK to make the property market more efficient and user-friendly for the home buying and selling public.
As a leading player in the property industry, ARLA offers significant benefits to letting agents and consumers alike.
By using a Licensed ARLA agent you are guaranteed:
- That the agency is covered by our Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme. ARLA have the ability to make discretionary grants if you suffer financial loss due to the bankruptcy or dishonesty of the member or their firm.
- That the agency has Professional Indemnity Insurance. This ensures you are financially covered for successful claims relating to members' negligence, bad advice or mishandling of data.
- To be consulting with a qualified and trained agent who can give you professional up-to-date advice and guidance. All our members are required to carry out Continuous Professional Development (CPD) each year.
- That you are dealing with an agent who voluntarily follows the Code of Practice and Rules of Conduct laid down by their professional body. If an agent does not follow the code, they can be fined or in the worst cases expelled from membership of ARLA.
- That you have a route to redress should something go wrong. It is a mandatory requirement that all our members belong to an independent redress scheme.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has been appointed by the Mayor as one of the accrediting bodies for London Rental Standard. As an organisation, we believe in maintaining the highest professional standards in the sector and have long called for more regulation of letting agents.
ARLA fully supports the aims of the London Rental Standard. It is crucial we eliminate the small minority of rogue landlords and agents who neglect their responsibilities and bring our industry into disrepute. We are therefore proud to be working with the Mayor on this first step towards a more regulated industry.
The Ombudsman for Estate Agents (OEA) Scheme was established on 1 January 1998. The Scheme is open to all those firms of estate agents with a principal, director or partner who is a member of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) or Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). From June 2006, the OEA extended its services to Lettings and Property Management agents.
By dealing with a Member of the TPO, the public may be confident about the agent's approach in its dealings with actual and potential buyers and sellers of residential property or lettings in the UK.
With effect from 1 October 2008, all estate agents are required to register with an Estate Agents Redress Scheme that has been approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and which investigates complaints against estate agents. The TPO is one of the schemes approved by the OFT.
Many estate agents have in addition agreed to follow the TPO Code of Practice for Residential Estate Agents. Estate agents signing up to this Code of Practice are required to provide additional consumer protection that goes beyond that required by the law. They can be recognised by the blue TPO logo. Registered agents, who do not voluntarily accept the Code of Practice obligations of the TPO Scheme, are not entitled to show the blue TPO logo.
Lettings and property management agents who join the TPO also subscribe to the Code of Practice for Letting Agents.
The Property Ombudsman provides a free, fair and independent service for dealing with unresolved disputes between sales and letting agents who have joined the TPO and consumers who are actual or potential buyers or sellers or landlords or tenants of residential property in the UK. The Ombudsman is a member of the Ombudsman Association and follows the standards and rules of the Association. The Ombudsman is totally independent of agents and reports directly to the TPO Council which has a majority of non-industry members.
The Ombudsman's role is to reach a resolution of unresolved disputes in full and final settlement and, where appropriate, he will make an appropriate award of financial compensation or other action for example make an apology. Therefore, if you feel that you have been disadvantaged by the actions or inactions of a TPO member, you have access to an independent dispute resolution service and can be certain of receiving a fair and reasonable judgment of your complaint.
A Consumer Guide, available in the offices of all sales and lettings agents who have joined the TPO, informs complainants that:
'Your complaint may be considered by the Ombudsman, if you believe that the agent has:
- infringed your legal rights; or
- failed to follow the rules and obligations set for agents under any code of practice to which they may subscribe; or
- treated you unfairly; or
- been guilty of maladministration (including inefficiency or undue delay)
- in a way that results in you losing money or suffering avoidable aggravation, distress and/or inconvenience.'
The Ombudsman will not normally review a case until the internal complaints procedure of the agent has been exhausted.