9:00 AM, 18th October 2012, About 10 years ago 3
The UK Association for Letting Agents (UKALA) has relaunched with a new membership offering aimed at helping professional lettings agents compete in an evolving private rented sector. To help spearhead the new approach, Caroline Kenny (Formerly a partner at Cluttons LLP) has been appointed the new UKALA Executive.
Caroline Kenny confirmed that the new membership criteria require all applicants to be vetted against UKALA safeguards, and only if these requirements are met can lettings agencies become members and be covered by UKALA’s Client Money Protection (CMP) insurance.
Hamilton Fraser Insurance are the underwriters for UKALA CMP insurance. This covers the theft of a client’s money, which is in the care of an Association Member, by an Employee, Director or Partner (acting on behalf of the member) or by a Third Party. The Annual Limit of Indemnity is £5,000,000,with a sub-limit of £500,000 per insured loss and £25,000 for any one tenant/ landlord claim. Any client money from the landlord or tenant is covered by this CMP insurance.
Property118 asked Caroline if SafeAgent will be accepting UKALA members automatically. Caroline responded that “UKALA shares the same objective as SafeAgent in demonstrating that a letting agent has certain consumer safeguards in place. UKALA agents can also offer the same level of financial protection through its own independent CMPI policy, PI insurance and access to an independent complaints redress scheme, as well as additional membership benefits. UKALA agents are free to purchase the SafeAgent badge in addition to their UKALA membership if they believe that it would bring further value to their business. However, the requirements of SafeAgent status would increase UKALA membership fees to a level which the Association no longer considers to be reasonable or competitive.”
UKALA have also strengthened their Code of Practice to ensure that prior to an applicant’s offer being formally accepted, agents will have to set out in writing any significant tenancy pre-conditions and terms for the letting, such as their potential liability for fees and charges. Failure to do so will mean that tenants will not be liable for fees or charges that are not clearly set out prior to the formal acceptance”.
UKALA report that with the Private Rented Sector growing by nearly 90% over the past ten years, and government figures showing that the sector now accounts for over 4.5 m households, the expectations of both tenants and landlords are driving change throughout the property industry and placing new demands on letting agents. To drive improvements across the sector, UKALA’s new management team aim to help agents deliver a professional service and raise standards across the industry.