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12 February 2020

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has responded to Propertymark’s concerns about the level of business rates faced by agents on the high street. Read More...

ARLA Conference and Exhibition 2019 quenching the thirst for knowledge

Wednesday 03 April 2019

ARLA Propertymark will continue to be a safe port in a storm, promising to continue delivering for our members. This was the conference key message where there was a thirst for knowledge from the 1200 delegates ready to learn as much as they can on all legislative changes.

Heather Wheeler, MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Minister for Housing and Homelessness) addressed the conference for the second year in a row, commending the work done by ARLA Propertymark to raise standards across the industry, underlining the Government’s aim for the public to have confidence in the sector, making everything fair.

The audience got involved in debate from the very first sessions, with Julian Worricker voicing the most popular questions from the floor. The Minister was asked how Government is going to police landlords that self-manage and felt pressure from the floor for a comprehensive review of the Tenant Fees Act and a commitment to scrap it if the review shows evidence of rising rents.

David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark, took the stage with an opening line of “In 2017 I said that a Tsunami was on the horizon. Two years later and that Tsunami is now upon us.”  With the changes and new legislation in the sector.

The Tenant Fees Act is a complex piece of legislation and ARLA Propertymark launched a Tenant Fees Toolkit to help every member comply. It contains 10 factsheets covering all the various aspects of the ban plus a series of 18 short films looking at specific issues, as well as practical tips to help deal with the loss if income and a case study from Scotland on how they overcame their ban and continued to thrive.

David provided a lengthy outline of what’s in the Act, covering, Prohibited Payments, Permitted Payments, Holding Deposits, Fee Transparency, Default Fees, Scope of the Ban and Enforcement and Penalties, Existing Tenancies and Tenancy Deposit Protection. Full information is available in the Toolkit

Debating the future

The morning session included an election style panel debate on business models of the future including representatives from the different sectors - a large corporate, online agent, an independent and institutional investor, advocating their area and experience. Gillian Kent, Chair of online letting agent, Howsy drew gasps and a strong reaction on the audience engagement tool Slido, when she suggested that efficiencies alone yield income while Jennie Fojtik, Head of Leasing at Tipi talked about the importance of data and that being the pivotal advantage that some agents are mastering.

Is a national database or a property MOT what is needed in the sector? Theresa Wallace, Head of Compliance at Savills, Sir Robin Wales, former Mayor of Newham, Greg Beales Director of Communications, Policy & Campaigns Shelter, Richard Lambert, CEO of National Landlords Association and Dr Julie Rugg, author of the Rugg Review and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Housing Policy, University of York, who had previously outlined the research on The Evolving Private Rented Sector: Its Contribution and Potential debated the need for a reform to the current local authority licensing regime. Discussion about what is needed to protect consumers and the industry with the powerful message on all sides that enforcement needs to be resourced.

The art of adapting and not conforming

Tim Harford, Undercover Economist, with his humorous style, shared some analogies and thought-provoking examples of the key message – are we failing enough to make a change, are we willing to take chances, experiment and fail? Turning problems into opportunities and learning how to adapt and not conform can take your business forward.

Making the most of your ARLA Propertymark membership

Peter Savage, ARLA Propertymark President, was pleased to see the attendance (at the conference which had sold out 4 weeks prior) clearly indicating the importance from everyone in the industry to drive to be the very best. He outlined the raft of member benefits and resources launched in the last 12 months, urging everyone to utilise and share with consumers that they are ARLA Propertymark Protected. Consumer awareness is growing but he reiterated that members, must ensure they are telling potential clients about the high standards that differentiate ARLA Propertymark members.

Buzzing ARLA Propertymark Exhibition

The thirst continued in the exhibition area, not only for the ‘complimentary’ variety of beverages available from some of the exhibitors, but for ideas, help, products and services to drive business forward, save money and enhance their business. With a variety of specialist stands, and other incentives to attract passers-by attention, including mini-golf, a Dalek, a garden, a house and the Premiership Rugby Cup – it was a throng of activity, hilarity and networking.