The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) has announced that from 6th April 2009, it will only offer deposit protection services to lettings and management firms that are members of regulated bodies, including the accreditation organisation the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS).
Amid stern insistence from insurers, TDS cover will be completely withdrawn from unregulated agents. As one of only four approved organisations insurers will recognise in 2009, NALS advises landlords and tenants to be absolutely certain deposits are fully protected and that their letting agents are appropriately accredited, in this challenging economic outlook. Caroline Pickering, NALS Independent Chair, explains more.
“The TDS decision highlights the importance placed on both accountability and financial security within private rentals,” she asserts. “Lettings firms need to guarantee optimum levels of trust and support for both tenants and landlords. This recent development will surely come as a wake-up call to all firms who are not part of any regulatory body and can not demonstrate to the consumer that they meet industry standards in the operation of their businesses.
“It is understandable that insurers are not willing to insure firms where there is no knowledge or controls of their accounting practices. This move coupled with the Rugg Report recommendations on licensing for letting agents, makes it clear to Government that the time has come to take action in establishing a licensing body and NALS is the obvious choice to assume the role.
“The answer for agents is simple, accreditation. NALS, is the only Government recognised accreditation scheme for lettings and management agents in the private rented sector and offers consumers a benchmark of what to look for when considering the services of lettings agents.
“Agents must act now, the NALS criteria for entry to its scheme is entirely achievable by all professional firms and agents and we are here to assist firms through the application process.”
NALS is backed by the Government and the professional bodies in the lettings sector. NALS offers a reliable benchmark for landlords and tenants to compare the standards of service they receive from residential letting agents. All accredited firms commit to providing clearly defined levels of customer service, have client money protection cover, maintain professional indemnity insurance and operate an Ombudsman customer complaints procedure. For more information visit www.nalscheme.co.uk