New president and new mission ahead for ARLA

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The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has a new president with a clear-cut vision for the future.

Last week, David McMaster was formally inducted as ARLA president, taking over from Robert Jordan.

He expressed his desire to ensure landlords and buy to let investors have a clear understanding of what to expect from professional letting agents.

Mr McMaster has called upon ARLA members to promote the benefits of the association's code of practice, client money protection and professional qualifications to landlords and tenants.

"In the current market, it is vital that ARLA members take every opportunity to reinforce the message we must promote to the public.

"They must use only regulated agents who are qualified in lettings and residential management. There is too much money at stake in rents, deposits and the value of people’s homes and investments to ignore the benefits of using a professional ARLA agent," he said.

Mr McMaster believed many people would remain in the private rented sector for longer in the face of a slowing rental market and the credit crunch.

Reasons for this were that some people could have difficulty getting a mortgage or because they could not find the property of their choice.

But he said large parts of the rental market remained unregulated and left both landlords and tenants exposed to a poor quality of service or risk with their funds.

Reputable agents should be able to demonstrate client money Protection, separate bank accounts for all client funds, client accounts which are checked annually by an independent qualified accountant, professional indemnity insurance and membership of a tenancy deposit protection scheme.

They should also have an internal complaints procedure, operate under a code of practice that includes the obligation to submit to disciplinary action by an independent body, and employ professionally trained and qualified staff.

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