PRS Industry spokesman – please stand up!

PRS Industry spokesman – please stand up!


10:12 AM, 21st September 2013, About 11 years ago 7

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Can you help me? Who would you consider to be the official spokesperson/body for the lettings industry? I’ve only been in this industry for 12 months, so I’m still relatively a novice compared to most! But I would have thought ARLA? Yes? Anyone else?

I’m still fuming after only just catching up with the Watchdog / Rogue Traders episode from earlier in the week, when the last comment to screen was some ‘Letting agents, don’t act illegally’ – or words to that effect…so now 4.5m viewers think that most of the lettings agents are criminals! Yes I know it makes good TV, but where was the industry spokesperson saying that 99.5% of the industry aren’t like that?

If this was a business that had been featured, there would have been crisis PR in action immediately. Take Johnson & Johnson or EE who were also covered on that programme – there was an immediate response (albeit a bit wishy washy in some cases), but at least there was a response and not complete radio-silence. There wasn’t a single reference to this episode on the ARLA website this week (apologies if I’ve missed it and it was there).

So when did the PRS get such a bad rap? I read a thread somewhere that it was around a year ago that it started getting really bad in the media. I know we aren’t going to stop bad stories being publicised – nor should we, it’s a free country & a media-driven culture after all – but the industry needs to at least stand up for itself a bit more. I know that idiot company weren’t ARLA, they probably weren’t even regulated by TPO, but there needs to be an industry spokesman/body who stands up for the whole industry. Who is it?PRS Industry spokesman - please stand up

The benefit of being new to this industry is that I can look at it with the benefit of the experience of other sectors – and I can assure you that if it was a solicitor or an accountant that was being shown up on Watchdog, those trade bodies would have their PR teams all over it! (and I’m no particular fan of the way ICAEW run themselves, but I’ll give them their due – they are very vocal & have helped over the past 100+ years to form the way their industry should be portrayed). We are still a relatively new sector – we need the same strategy! The majority of us want to increase standards across the board – let’s shout that from the rooftops (even more!)

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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

10:23 AM, 21st September 2013, About 11 years ago

Hi Kirsty

To my knowledge, Solicitors and Barristers have just one professional body, i.e. the Law Society.

One of the problems with lettings industry is that there are so many professional bodies; ARLA, NALS, RICS, UKALA, SAFEagent and, believe it or not, even the Law Society and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Include all of the landlords associations and you end up with a complete rabble most of the time with the ego's in each organisation wasting more energy out-doing their rivals than focussing on the real issues. The list goes on by the way, TPOS, Ombudsman Services, 4 deposit protection providers with 7 schemes between them, Gas safe, numerous professional bodies for inventory clerks and energy assessors, numerous accreditation schemes, student accommodation offices in each uni etc. etc. etc. I don't think I need go on.

All of these bodies somehow need to unite and communicate with a single voice. It's a very crowded market yet more ego's want to join it all the time. It is those ego's which are holding it back in my opinion.

10:35 AM, 21st September 2013, About 11 years ago

Well I knew the industry was dis-jointed - but crikey! There's loads of them!

Yes you are right about solicitors, but the accountancy sector has several different bodies - ICAEW, ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA and various other small ones, and of course, lots of accountants/bookkeepers are unregulated - as in the lettings industry.
They all have their own PR teams, but they have a combined voice though various (global) alliances who work together.

Maybe there needs to be a call to action for someone to form an alliance for the industry as a whole - and led by someone independent who can manage those egos! Do you want the job Mark???

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

10:59 AM, 21st September 2013, About 11 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Kirsty McGregor" at "21/09/2013 - 10:35":

I spent two decades of my working life making enough money to build a property portfolio which generates enough money to enable me to never have to have a "proper job" again Kirsty. I'm flattered by your suggestion but thanks but no thanks 😉

If I was one of the affected BoI borrowers all that hard work may have been undone by one highly questionable decision, that's how frightening this is but I'm really not in a position to take anything else on. Running Property118 is already a 12 hour a day commitment.

Vanessa Warwick

11:21 AM, 21st September 2013, About 11 years ago

The PRS is stifled by petty political agendas and cliques.

ARLA is a dinosaur.

Until all these organisations stop trying to be the best person in the room, petty points scoring etc. then the PRS will remain fragmented and disjointed.

I despair.

I wrote a heartfelt post on it on Property Tribes, but very few people commented.

I can only conclude that, for the most part, apathy rules.

11:56 AM, 21st September 2013, About 11 years ago

Nooo Vanessa don't tell me that - I'm going to run for the hills!!! 🙂

Mark/Vanessa, in the spirit of cooperation that you both quite rightly say is necessary, could you shortlist some people you think would be strong enough to form an alliance & spearhead some good PR on behalf of the industry. Then maybe I'll start bending their ear directly! I don't know enough of the good guys yet...

12:08 PM, 21st September 2013, About 11 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Vanessa Warwick" at "21/09/2013 - 11:21":

I've just read your TE Lawrence thread Vanessa...enlightening & depressing...but let's not give up yet! Has anyone else still got the energy to give this a go?? The Good Landlords Campaign is a great start by Mark, but what about for the industry as a whole?

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

12:51 PM, 21st September 2013, About 11 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Kirsty McGregor" at "21/09/2013 - 11:56":

Hi Kirsty

I have already begun that process and have a few very interesting volunteers including the CEO of the NACFB and a very senior magistrate in the West Country who is incredibly well connected - see >>>

It's a start I suppose!

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