The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has issued warnings to prospective tenants to be wary of rogue letting agents.
ARLA have also told tenants to be aware of fake or meaningless logos that are used to support an agent’s professional practise.
Watch Logos ARLA Warns Tenants
Managing Director of ARLA, Ian Potter, says: “Unfortunately, there are many horror stories of rogue letting agents, as the rental sector is unregulated. This means anyone can set up shop as an agent, or become a landlord.”1
Potter said to look out for landlords who offer property for considerably less than local market rents, or adverts for properties that do not require a deposit. Some letting agents ask for deposits to be paid before the tenant has even viewed the property.
ARLA also warns: “The interest and online forums can be a hotspot for unscrupulous agents as there is very little regulation about who can post adverts online. And the global nature of the interest means individuals living in or outside of the UK can easily advertise for properties to rent in the UK. Some will be legitimate, but not all.”
ARLA is warning would-be tenants to be conscious of agents that do not grant full viewing or inspection of the property: “At best, there may be problems behind the closed doors, at worst they may be showing you around a property that is already being rented to another individual, who may be staying on in that room.”
They also advised tenants to look out for “non-accredited third party logos or accreditation being used by agents to look as if they are monitored and adhere to a set code of conduct.”1
ARLA recommend all tenants to check if their agent belongs to a professional organisation, use tenant money protection, and redress schemes, and to be way of using transfer agents to pay money.