Qualification quandary: Martin & Co St Albans explain why now is a great time for landlords to use a qualified Letting Agent

Martin & Co were presented an award by celebrity property expert Phil Spencer at the 2013 Estate Age

Martin & Co were presented an award by celebrity property expert Phil Spencer at the 2013 Estate Agent of the Year Awards - Credit: Archant

Anyone can be an estate agent nowadays. You don’t need experience, qualifications or even a passion for property. You’ll struggle to forge a successful business, but you’re welcome to give it a go!

Being a good agent isn’t just about marketing a property and letting it. One of the key roles of an agent is to stay on top of the legalities and expected practices for landlords and tenants, supporting them through rather stressful and complex procedures - all the while, making it seem relaxed and professional!

Today we’re talking about residential lettings, and why it’s so important to use an agent who provides the perfect safety net for landlords.

The best agents will always be ARLA licensed. ARLA stands for the Association of Residential Lettings Agents, and licensed ARLA agents have the training, qualifications, expertise and accreditation from a governing body that secures the consumer’s best interests, and protects client monies.

Why does this matter so much?

Landlords have been targeted by consecutive government budgets, and must now stay on top of further legislation. Here are some basics to staying compliant in the coming months and years. As a landlord, you now have a legal obligation to answer the following questions:

- What are my responsibilities when it comes to the provision of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors?

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- How did the Section 21 legislation change in 2015? What must I do now?

- What extra information is now included with the ‘How To Rent’ guide, and when should I provide it?

- Within what time limit must I provide the tenant’s deposit, Terms and Conditions and prescribed information?

- How does Right to Rent affect my responsibilities as a landlord before and during a tenancy?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, perhaps it’s time to contact a professional agent to guide you through the legalities of letting a property.

These pieces of legislation are just some of the most recent to go live in the private rental sector, so you now have an indication of what agents face on a day-to-day basis in terms of keeping their landlords compliant and their tenants safe.

With an ever-increasing list of regulations that landlords need to meet, it is only fair that they may not be aware of all of them or have an enquiry about what to do next. This is where your agent comes in.