ARLA > JOIN > FAQS

Frequently asked questions

General membership questions

Who can become a member? 

We offer membership at four grades: Student, Associate, Member and Fellow. The student grade is open to anyone in the UK providing they are not a business owner of a property firm. The other three grades require that you are actively working as a residential letting agent.

I work for an online agency, can I join?

If you meet the entry requirements then yes you are able to join.

I'm a landlord, can I join?

Landlords are not eligible to join. Individuals must be working as an agent (on behalf of a third party) in residential lettings and property management.

I'm an overseas agent, can i join?

We solely concern ourselves with UK residential lettings and do not accept applications from overseas agents.

What are my membership obligations?

  • Complete 12 hours Continuing Professional Development (CPD) each year
  • Abide by Propertymark’s Professional Standards
  • Adhere to Propertymark’s Disciplinary Procedures

What is Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

CPD is vital to ensuring members are constantly up-to-date with changes to legislation and the industry. Members must record details of relevant events, courses and training they’ve undertaken and summarise what they learnt. More info...

How often do I renew my membership?

Your membership will be due for renewal annually and can be renewed online. When your membership is due for renewal you will see a notification when you log in. You will also receive an email reminder eight weeks before it expires with further reminders to follow. It is important that you keep us informed of any changes to your contact details.

The application process

How much is membership?

The 2017 annual membership subscription for the Associate, Member and Fellow grade is £230.00. The membership subscription for the Student grade is £90.00.

Applications are also subject to a one-off non-refundable £50.00 application fee. This fee is payable whether the application is successful or not and it is your responsibility to ensure you meet our membership criteria before completing your application.

Once I’ve completed my application how long will it take to become a member?

You can apply to become a member online or using an application form. The Membership team aim to process a completed application within 15 working days. Ensuring your application is complete and that the correct payment has been made speeds up the process. You will receive an email confirming your membership prior to receiving your welcome pack in the post.

What happens if I do not provide all of the required information?

This will delay your application and you may stand to lose your non-refundable £50.00 application fee as well as your application being rejected. However the Membership team will be in touch to advise you on what you need to do in order to complete your application. 

Company owner questions

Can my company join?

It is important to note that membership is awarded to an individual not a company. However a company can become ARLA Propertymark Protected through the membership of the business owner.

Do I have to be qualified before I join?

The Grandfathering Scheme offers business owners a route into membership without having to first become qualified. During the application process you would instead nominate a qualified member at your company, qualified to a minimum Level 3 standard (Level 6 for Scotland).

If that nominated member was to leave your company you would have six months to retain your membership by either becoming qualified yourself or by getting another qualified employee into membership. We advise that you work towards the qualification yourself or ensure there is always more than one qualified person at your company.

What qualifications do you accept?

We accept Propertymark Qualifications specific to residential lettings at Level 3 (Level 6 for Scotland). More info...

We may accept other comparable qualifications that meet the same standards required for membership.

What does my company need to have in place?

When applying for membership you will need to complete a Company Declaration form and you will be asked to provide evidence:

  • That your company has professional indemnity insurance
  • Is registered with a government approved independent redress scheme

If your company handles client money or entrusts client money to a third party you must:

  • Belong to a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme
  • Have a client account set up and provide an Accountant’s Report for that account.

It is a legal requirement for certain businesses to be registered with HMRC for Money Laundering Regulations. If this applies to your company you will need to provide evidence of your registration with HMRC. More info...

What if my company is already regulated?

If your company is regulated by RICS, The Law Society or The Law Society of Scotland you do not have to provide any further documentation relating to your company. You will only need to provide evidence that you are regulated by that organisation. However further checks may be carried out by Propertymark.

I am going to be opening my own company, can I join?

You can join once your company meets all the requirements highlighted above, not before.

What is professional indemnity insurance?

Professional indemnity insurance covers you for defence costs and damages awarded if legal action is taken against you for professional error.

Agent Assure is our official insurance broking partner and offers members a 20% discount on their professional indemnity insurance. More info...

What are the minimum limits of indemnity?

If your company’s total annual fee income is up to and including £150,000 the minimum limit of indemnity is £150,000. If the total annual fee income exceeds £150,000 then the minimum limit of indemnity is £500,000.

Are other insurances accepted for membership?

We do not accept public liability insurance, employer’s liability insurance or property insurance as they do not cover professional error. Only professional indemnity insurance is accepted.

What is an independent redress scheme?

It is a legal requirement that a letting agency belong to an independent redress scheme. Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have approved three redress schemes, TPOS, OS:P and PRS. An independent redress scheme offer an impartial resolution should a dispute arise with a tenant or landlord. More info...

What is Client Money Protection (CMP)?

CMP compensates tenants, landlords and other clients should an agent misappropriate their rent, deposit or other funds. If your company handles client money it must belong to a CMP scheme. More info...

How do I join a client money protection (CMP) scheme?

Propertymark offer a CMP scheme that is accepted for membership. Applicants are required to pay the CMP annual levy and joining fee together with their membership subscription upon applying for membership. CMP is payable per firm, not per individual.

If your company is regulated by RICS, The Law Society or The Law Society of Scotland you do not have to join Propertymark’s CMP scheme.

How much is it to join Propertymark’s Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme?

The CMP annual levy for 2017 is £340. The one-off joining fee is £180.

There is a fidelity section in my professional indemnity insurance policy, do I still need CMP?

It’s common for fidelity (staff dishonesty) to be included in a professional indemnity insurance policy. However it only covers loss for the business owner/policy holder not the loss of clients’ money. Therefore you must belong to a CMP scheme.

What is a client account report?

We require that a report be carried out on a company’s designated client account, an account used solely for client money. Only reports carried out by a certified accountant of a body recognised by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) will be accepted.

Employee / Not working in the industry

Do I have to be qualified before I join?

You can join at the Student grade without a qualification. You will be granted membership at this level for three years whilst studying for a property qualification. Once qualified you can upgrade your membership.

A major benefit of the Student grade is the discount it grants you on all Propertymark Qualifications' Workbooks. Propertymark Qualifications offers specialist, regulated property qualifications that can be completed flexibly through distance learning or supported study.

What qualifications do you accept?

We accept Propertymark Qualifications specific to residential lettings. More infoo...

We may accept other comparable qualifications it deems to meet the standards required for membership.

How can I advertise my membership?

At the Fellow and Member grades members can use the post-nominals FARLA or MARLA and display the logo. This is because the company they work for will be ARLA Propertymark Protected.

Business owners whose company is ARLA Propertymark Protected can use the logo on the company's website, staff business cards, email footers, advertising and other stationary. 

I want to join at the Member grade and use the post-nominals but the business owner is not a member, how can I join at the Member grade?

To join at Member grade the business owner must be a member. The Grandfathering Scheme offers business owners a route into membership without having to first become qualified.

During the application process they would instead nominate you as a qualified member however you must be qualified to a minimum Level 3 standard (Level 6 for Scotland). The business owner will still be required to meet Propertymark's company obligations.

Paying for your membership

Are membership fees refundable?

All fees are non-refundable once an application has been approved. If an application is unsuccessful the membership subscription fee will be returned, however the one-off application fee may be retained.

Can my company pay for me?

Yes your company can pay for your membership.

Are discounts available?

Companies which have five of more employees looking to join can set up a company invoice. This invoice will grant discounts on membership subscriptions and application fees as well as membership renewals.

Employees can be added and removed from the invoice at any time during the year. The more employees on a company invoice the greater the discount. Contact the Membership team to start a company invoice.

How can I pay for membership?

When you reach the end of the online application process you can pay via credit/debit card. Alternatively select ‘Other Payment Options’ at the bottom of the page. This will submit your application for processing and the Membership team will email you an invoice for payment. You can then pay via cheque or bank transfer, further details will be included on the invoice.

Only when your application is approved and payment received will you become a member.

Can I pay by direct debit?

You cannot pay by Direct Debit for a new application. However you can set up a Direct Debit upon your annual membership renewal (a mandate is included with the renewal form).

Can I pay with a cheque from a client account?

We will not accept any payments sent from a client account.

Are membership fees tax deductible?

Yes and can be reclaimed via the company accounts or directly from HMRC.