Question the agent and ask if they are licensed members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and find out how many trained and qualified staff they have and ask to see the qualifications. If they don’t have these then play safe and find one who has.
Selecting an agent with low management fees and saving a few pounds every week may land up costing you far more in the long run. If the agent isn’t qualified then how can you expect them to advise you in relation to the myriad of legal obligations.
A recent case in Cambbridgesire relating to an unlicensed letting agent is reported here:
A Peterborough letting agent has been fined more than £2,000 after being found guilty of operating without a licence for a third time. Mohammed Khubaib (41) of Beehive Lettings, Peterborough, pleaded not guilty to having control of, or managing a house of multiple occupation, without a licence at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court.
It is a requirement under the Housing Act 2004 to hold a licence when operating a house of multiple occupation. After a short trial, Khubaib was found guilty of the offence and fined £2,250 and ordered to pay costs of £1,865 and a £15 victim surcharge for his offence.
The owner of the property, Maroof Hussain (36) of Northfield Road, Peterborough, also failed to licence the property despite several warnings from the city council. Hussain pleaded guilty to having control of, or managing a house of multiple occupation, without a licence and was ordered to pay a £1,250 fine, £800 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Khubaib, who has been a letting agent in the city for more than 10 years, has been convicted of the same offence on two previous occasions in 2005 and 2010.
He was also convicted of illegally evicting a tenant in March 2012.
The property in Cromwell Road, Peterborough, was made subject to an interim management order in January 2012 after council officers attended following a fire. During the visit council officers found nine people, who formed seven households, all living in the property which was suitable for a maximum of six people.
On numerous occasions, both the owner and the agent were instructed to apply for a licence, however neither made the necessary application or took action to repair the fire damage to the property. This resulted in the city council carrying out the repairs, costing in excess of £12,000, to bring the property up to the required standard.
Protect yourself; protect your investments and only instruct an ARLA Licensed agent.
Belvoir Cambridge are accredited and regulated agents. Members of ARLA, Safe agent, Safeagent and the Property Ombudsman. It is a requirement for a member of ARLA and Safe Agent to have Client Money Protection and have their accounts independently audited annually.
This article was prepared and written by Terry Lucking owner of Belvoir Lettings Peterborough and Cambridge.
For more information or to ask Terry a question send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org