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The Importance of a Qualified Property Agent
When The Home Cloud was founded we wanted to give our clients all the confidence and protection they need when dealing with the sale or let of their property. As a result we took two key decisions –
- to encourage all our staff to become fully qualified and
- for the business to become full members of the four leading industry recognised associations – ARLA, NAEA, TPO and CCAS
In this blog we look at why we are convinced that it is essential to use only a qualified property agent and why we believe all agents should follow this approach.
The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
ARLA was formed in 1981 as the professional and regulatory body for letting agents when 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 is now recognised as the UK’s foremost professional body for letting agents. Its members are professionals working at all levels of letting agency, from business owners to office employees.
ARLA has over 7,900 individual members, representing 3,500 member offices throughout the UK and membership is achieved only by agents who demonstrate that they have a thorough knowledge of their profession and that they conduct their business according to current best management practice.
By using a Licensed ARLA agent you are guaranteed that the agency is covered by the ARLA Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme and has Professional Indemnity Insurance which ensures you are financially covered for successful claims relating to members’ negligence, bad advice or mishandling of data.
An ARLA agent will be qualified and trained to give you professional up-to-date advice and guidance and is required to carry out Continuous Professional Development (CPD) each year.
All ARLA agents voluntarily follow the Code of Practice and Rules of Conduct laid down by the professional body and if an agent does not follow the code, they can be fined or in the worst cases expelled from membership of ARLA.
ARLA also provides a route for you to redress anything that goes wrong. It is a mandatory requirement that all ARLA members belong to an independent redress scheme (The Home Cloud is a member if the Property Ombudsman Service please see below).
Without the knowledge and expertise provided by an ARLA agent, whether you are a Tenant or a Landlord you may be badly advised or misled – or you may even suffer financial loss as a result.
The Property Ombudsman
The Property Ombudsman (TPO) scheme has been providing consumers and property agents with an alternative dispute resolution service since 1990.The TPO is a government approved scheme and the Ombudsman’s resolutions are designed to achieve a full and final settlement of the dispute and all claims made by either party. The Ombudsman can, where appropriate, make compensatory awards in individual cases up to a maximum of £25,000 for actual and quantifiable loss and/or for aggravation, distress and/or inconvenience caused by the actions of an agent.
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.
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.
The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
NAEA is the UK’s leading professional body for estate agency whose members practise across all aspects of property both in the UK and overseas, including residential and commercial sales and letting, property management, business transfer, auctioneering and land.
NAEA was founded in 1962 by estate agent and entrepreneur Raymond Andrews with the goal of upholding good practice and high professional standards in UK estate agency before which there was little representation for estate agents.
Today the Association’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.
A Licensed NAEA agent is qualified and is required to keep up to date with the latest developments in the ever changing sales market.
Without this knowledge and expertise, whether you’re a Buyer or a Vendor you may be badly advised or misled – or you may even suffer financial loss as a result.
A Licensed NAEA firm will also have Professional Indemnity Insurance in place for your protection and abide by a Code of Practice and Rules of Conduct which means that you can be assured that the service you receive is to the highest standard and your enquiry will be dealt with professionally and fairly.
The Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS)
We know that as a consumer you want to have confidence in businesses from whom you buy goods or services.
CCAS is facilitated self-regulation, which aims to provide you with access to approved codes which meet core criteria set by TSI.
Codes approval is a rigorous and intensive two-stage process, and codes will be approved only if businesses can clearly show that they are contributing to improving service standards.
How would using an approved code member benefit me?
- Businesses can display the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) approved code logo only if they are an approved code member. When you see the TSI approved code logo – you can have confidence that the code member can be trusted.
- Businesses will be audited and monitored to ensure they comply with the high standards set by their approved code of practice
- Customers using an approved trader, you will have protection above and beyond your normal consumer law rights
If you have any comments on any of the above or would like more information about buying, selling, renting, letting or finding a property please get in touch via our website thehomecloud.xenacia.com