Everyone knows about ATOL & ABTA – so why ignore NALS & ARLA?

publication date: Sep 9, 2014
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Why are people ignoring NALS & ARLA?

With renting a home being the second biggest form of tenure in the UK, the lack of knowledge of how to rent from the best letting agents is astonishingly bad.

Any news report on travel companies or problems always includes phrases like ‘book with ABTA or ATOL’ travel agents – so why aren’t we educating the public that if they want to use a good letting agent they need to be ARLA or NALS (and RICs and UKARLA) registered?

ARLA’s latest research shows how little the public know about the difference between renting from a self-regulated agent and one that doesn’t even insure tenant/landlord rent in the event of a problem in their business or it goes bust!

45% said they had no problems with their landlord or letting agent in the last five years, but of those that did, the research shows:-

  • 55% of the tenant population have experienced at least one problem

  • 66% of tenants won’t check if a landlord or letting agent is part of any organisation

  • 54% said it never “crossed their mind” to check on the agent’s or landlord’s credentials

  • 12% wrongly thought letting agents were licenced, so had no idea the risk they were taking by not checkout out the agent.

Kate’s tips on how to spot a bad agent:-

  • Ask them the time it takes to fix a problem, most take over a month (36 days) and it should be done a lot sooner! 1:7 didn’t even bother to get the work done at all

  • 1:5 tenants knew the landlord or agent wasn’t ‘quite right’ but went ahead anyway, don’t!

  • 8% found they weren’t clear about their fees, if they aren’t, steer clear

  • 6% found poor agents didn’t know much about the property and/or were pushy, so walk away

  • 6% didn’t even bother to turn up to the viewing! Cross them off your list!

David Cox, Managing Director, Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), comments:
Our home is our castle, and there is no reason for it to not be fit for a King. Just because you rent a property it should not impact your levels of enjoyment. Choosing an unlicensed letting agent could leave tenants with a long list of problems.”

David’s view is “It will only be through qualification and ongoing professional development, backed up by appropriate regulation, that we will eliminate the rogue landlords and agents who blight our industry.  ARLA would like to see a fully regulated industry to build a better, stronger private rented sector.”

Just so you know….

Opinium Research carried out 2,095 Online Interviews (UK Adults) between 30th July to 21st August 2014

Top problems experienced from your letting agency / landlords in last 5 years

They have taken a while to fix any problems e.g. boilers, heating, electricity


They didn’t replace old items e.g. kitchen cupboards / worn carpets


They didn’t listen to complaints I had


They have broken promises they’d previously made


On leaving the property, I was accused of things that haven’t happened / were already there before I moved in


They didn’t turn up when they were meant to


They let themselves into the property whenever they wanted


They charged for a professional cleaners even though it was left in a clean condition


They didn’t give me back my deposit even though they had no reason to keep it


They let workmen eg builders / electricians into the property without notifying me


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