Frequently asked questions

What does it mean to be an ARLA Inventories member?

By becoming an ARLA Inventories member you are clearly demonstrating to landlords, agents and tenants that you're an experienced, accredited/qualified professional and continuously meets industry best practice standards.

This is demonstrated through the use of the ARLA Inventories logo and designatory letters MARLA (INV). The logo also reassures clients that you have the correct insurances and that you abide by a code of practice so they know the inventory is being handled with the professionalism it deserves.

How do I become an ARLA Inventories member?

There are two grades of membership; Member and Student. To join at the Member grade you must pass the Propertymark Qualifications Level 3 (or Level 6 in Scotland) Award in Residential Inventory Management and Practice, have a minimum of six months' experience and have up-to-date public liability and professional indemnity insurance.

The former APIP Accreditation Exam is no longer accepted to become an ARLA Inventories Member.

Can my company join?

ARLA Inventories membership is granted to the individual, not a company. However, if you're an ARLA Inventories Member and the Principal, Partner or Director (PPD) of your company you can apply the logo to your company's website and marketing material.

How long does Student membership last for?

The Student membership is open to anyone provided they have the correct insurances, The grade serves as a route into membership whilst studying towards the Level 3 or Level 6 Award in Residential Inventory Management and Practice or gaining experience.

The Student grade has a maximum term of three years allowing plenty of time to gain the required experience and pass the qualification for your membership to be upgraded.

How often do I renew my membership?

All members are required to renew their membership on an annual basis from the time they joined. At this time they must provide evidence of current insurance cover for both public liability and professional indemnity insurances. It is important that we are kept informed of any changes to your contact details as we will send reminders regarding your membership renewal before it expires.

How much is membership and are fees refundable?

The annual membership subscription for both the Member and Student grades is £70.00. you will also be required to pay a one-off joining/admin fee of £20.00. Payment details will be provided during the online application process.

Once an application has been approved the all fees are non-refundable. However, If an application is unsuccessful we will return the membership subscription but the joining/admin fee may still be processed.

Is membership monitored?

Yes, If a member is found to be in breach of our code of practice or in the event a complaint is upheld against a member then your membership will be terminated. We reserve the right to ask at any time for copies of inventories prepared by its members.

What is the importance of having a professionally drawn-up inventory?

Changes in legislation focused the spotlight on the inventory process. Tenancy deposit scheme cases highlighted the need for a clear concise inventory to protect the landlord. Many cases resulted in a full return of the deposit as the landlord could not provide sufficient evidence to successfully pursue an action.

If an inventory is inadequate, out of date, non-existent or cannot be proven to have been given to the tenant, then the full deposit will be awarded to the tenant unless they admit to damages or losses.

What is the legislation?

Deposit Protection
Initially driven by the consumer interest bodies, due to increasing complaints from tenants not being able to recover their deposit at the end of a tenancy, government was lobbied to provide protection and dispute resolution. Following extensive trials ARLA,NAEA and RICS were able to demonstrate to the government that member agents had the ability to hold the deposit themselves and submit any disputes to an independent adjudicator. However, this did not account for individual landlords or agents that did not belong to a redress scheme or were not regulated in any way. As a result the Housing Act 2004 was passed and the requirement to protect the deposit came into effect from the 6th April 2007. This law requires that all Assured Shorthold Tenancies created or renewed on or after 6th April 2007 must have the tenant’s deposit properly protected.

Regulations for the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms  
Since 1 October 2015 landlords in England have been required to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties and ensure they are in proper working order at the start of a new tenancy. Inventory clerks may be asked to do testing as part of the property inventory process. View the fact sheet for further information about the new rules.

Wear and tear allowance
Inventory Providers should be aware that the current 10% Wear and Tear Allowance which allows landlords to reduce the tax they pay, regardless of whether they replace the furnishings in their property, will be replaced. The new rules apply from 6 April 2016 and landlords will only be allowed to deduct the costs they actually incur for replacing furnishings in their rental properties.

Property redress schemes
It is not mandatory for providers of inventory management services to join, but legislation has been introduced which means that from 1 October 2014 it is a legal requirement for lettings agents and property managers in England to join 1 of 3 government approved redress schemes.

Consumer Rights Act 2015
Since 27 May 2015, letting agents have had a statutory duty to fully publicise the fees they charge to their landlord and tenant clients. This means that agents must now clearly display a list of their fees at each of their offices as well as on their website. The fees include or charges or penalties which are payable to the agent by a landlord or tenant in respect of letting agency work and property management work carried out by the agent in connection with an assured tenancy.

What role does the inventory play in the legislation?

All deposit protection schemes offer Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). If there is a dispute over the deposit that cannot be resolved by the involved parties, the dispute is referred to an independent adjudicator.

The adjudicator relies heavily on the inventory, the check-out report and the conditions placed on the landlord and tenant under the tenancy agreement. They will also note any comments made at the check-in. This places responsibility on the inventory provider to ensure that their work is clear and unambiguous.

What are the deposit protection schemes?

There are three Government approved deposit protection schemes in England and Wales (Different schemes exist for Scotland and Northern Ireland). These are the Deposit Protection Service (DPS), MyDeposits and Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).