General Guidance for Tenants

Our General Guide for Tenants on Licensed ARLA Agents and Professional Inventories.

Why use a Regulated Agent and What is ARLA?

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) is the only professional body that is solely concerned with the self-regulation of letting agents and since 1981 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, academics, 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. ARLA members successfully create, on average, over a quarter of a million new tenancies a year as well as arranging the renewal or extension of thousands more of existing tenancies every month.

Why should a Landlord or Tenant seek out an ARLA Member?

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 it members up to date with changes in legislation and provides wide-ranging training and guidance to help members understand and interpret all aspects of letting and managing a property.

As a Member of the Public

You can be sure you are dealing with an experienced and professional agent, by choosing an ARLA member.

Membership of the Association is through formal qualification ensuring that ARLA member agents have the knowledge and experience to guide you through your property transaction as smoothly and painlessly as possible. Operating under strict rules of conduct, members must meet certain standards relating to professional and ethical practice. Under the rules, agents are required to protect and promote their client’s interests, while at all times acting in a fair and proper manner. If you are unfortunate enough to suffer at the hands of malpractice by an ARLA letting agent, the Association can take disciplinary action on your behalf.

You are better protected and will get higher standards from ARLA members!

Professional Inventory

What difference does having a Professional Inventory make to the Tenant?

A professionally drawn up inventory will help you in the event that you have a dispute with your landlord at the end of the tenancy.

A thorough inventory will detail for you not only the contents within the property but the condition of them as well as the condition of the property itself including fixtures and fittings – such as carpets, curtains and light fittings.

If there is a clear indication of what the property is like at the start of your tenancy you can use this as a measure against the condition of the property at the end, with allowance for fair wear and tear. Without this there is an element of doubt about the property which can lead to protracted disputes which may have to go to an independent party for adjudication or finish up in a Court of Law

A professional inventory provider is trained to be impartial both at the time of making the original inventory and at the check out. Their evidence will be relied upon in the event of a dispute over the deposit at the end and you can be confident that the documentation will have been drawn up correctly and fairly.

How will I know whether the Inventory has been carried out by a professional?

A very good indication of this is whether the inventory provider is a member of APIP. This qualification means that they have been through a training process and have passed an assessment to demonstrate their abilities in drawing up an inventory and conducting the check in and check out as required.

In addition the fully qualified member of APIP will have their name and membership number included in the inventory.

How can I help the process?

Whether you are actually checked into the property at the start of the tenancy or are given the inventory to check through yourself – it is important that you take this process seriously.

Compare each item listed on the inventory, checking that you agree with the condition given. If there are issues that you don’t agree with, don’t ignore it, but bring it to the attention of the person conducting the check in, or if you are going through the property yourself contact the agent as soon as possible.

Useful Links

There are useful guides (download & hardcopy) available free from the following websites. Here are a sample of what is available, please click on the relevant link.

Government Community Website:
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-communities-and-local-government

Assured & Assured Shorthold Tenancies – A Guide for Landlords
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/assured-and-assured-shorthold-tenancies-a-guide-for-landlords

Assured Shorthold Tenancies – A Guide for Tenants
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/top-tips-for-tenants-assured-shorthold-tenancies