ARLA Propertymark is warning members to be diligent in how they promote the letting agents’ code of practice.
ARLA has issued a statement citing a decision by the First Tier Tribunal concerning an agent served with an Enforcement Order because they failed to meet their requirements of the Letting Agent Code of Practice.
ARLA says: “Section 100 reads that you must make landlords and tenants aware of the Code and give them a copy on request, electronically if you prefer.”
However, in this case the agency had a copy of the code available only on the waiting area of the branch: it was easily accessible for tenants and landlords to peruse, but was sent to individuals only when requested.
“The tribunal did not consider that having a copy available in the office to be compliant with an agent’s duty in terms of the code and with the tenant’s declaration they only found out about the Code of Practice through an internet search added further weight to the lack of compliance. Therefore the Tribunal had no hesitation in issuing a Letting Agent Enforcement Order” says the association.
As part of the tribunal decision the agency was given 28 days to advise its landlords and tenants by letter about the code, and to send them a copy of requested.
ARLA says this is not the first case of its kind and urges members “to make all your landlords and tenants aware of the Code or you have no evidence in place that you have done so, regardless of when the tenancy commenced, that you put procedures in place to do so immediately.”