In Wales, anyone letting and managing rental property must have a licence, a condition of which is that they pass a training course and undertake Continuing Professional Development. Similarly, in Scotland, all letting agents must be registered and those who manage and supervise the running of a letting agency and the day-to-day work have to hold qualifications and keep them up to date.
In England and Northern Ireland there was no legal requirement for letting agents (or estate agents) to hold any qualifications. However, in February Michael Gove announced this was set to change. The proposed Social Housing (Regulations) Bill would make professional qualifications mandatory for social housing managers in order to help drive up standards in the sector. The bill received royal assent on the 20th of July and became an Act of Parliament (law).
Don’t professional property industry bodies require agents to be qualified?
The property industry’s self-regulating bodies are:
- Propertymark (launched in 2017, combining ARLA, NAEA, NAVA, ICBA and APIP into one brand)
- UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA),
- Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
- Safeagent (formerly the National Approved Lettings Scheme)
At Reeds Rains, we are members of ARLA Propertymark, which requires our Principals, Partners and Directors to achieve various formal qualifications in residential lettings. All staff are actively encouraged to become ARLA qualified, which is promoted to every branch and supported through our regular online training modules, webinars, face-to-face training sessions and events.
As an example, those that have achieved the ARLA Member Grade (Level 3 qualification in residential lettings) have studied and passed exams in:
- Health and safety, security and general law
- Legal aspects of letting and management
- Residential property letting practice
- Residential property management practice
Members must also complete at least 12 hours of Continuing Professional Development activity each year, four hours of which must be educational events.
Why is it so important to work with an agent that’s qualified?
When a property is rented out, not only is there a legal contract between the landlord and tenant, but there are hundreds of laws around how the property must be legally let and managed – as well as many more standards of practice that the best agents will work to.
Formal qualifications give you the assurance that the people handling the letting and management of your property are professionals who have invested time and effort in properly understanding their business. And with new laws coming into force and existing laws being amended sometimes several times a year, it’s vital that agents are able to understand and communicate changes and ensure every let remains legally compliant.
Membership of ARLA Propertymark gives us access to ongoing legal support, so you can be confident we’re always kept up to date with the latest legal changes. We’re also required to adhere to a code of conduct and pride ourselves on offering the very best standard of service to our landlords and tenants.
Given that not every letting and managing agent is a member of a professional body that requires qualifications as a condition of membership, we would suggest that you choose to work with one that is. So, look for the Propertymark logo that should be clearly displayed by member agents and then check online that they are listed by the organisation as members because sometimes dishonest or criminal agents will falsely advertise membership! Once you have confirmed their credentials, that should give you peace of mind that both you and your property are in good hands.