Latest News

A thirst to get qualified at the Propertymark Wales National Conference

18 October 2019

With so much change for agents in Wales in 2019, the delegates at the Propertymark Wales National Conference heard a legislative reminder on anti-money laundering, referral fees and the regulation of the industry. Read More...

London letting agents guilty of money laundering

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Three London agents have received suspended sentences after pleading guilty to fraud following an investigation made by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team. Read More...

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The average homeowner in the UK could be £352,500 better off than the average private renter over the next 30 years, new research from the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) says. Read More...

2019 Propertymark Scottish National Conference - informative and educational

Thursday 14 March 2019

With the threat of hurricane Gareth looming, it didn’t put off the hardy Scottish estate and lettings agents from ascending to Glasgow on 13 March for a programme filled with heavy legislation issues mixed with a touch of light-hearted tips and information.

Just under 150 agents, a whopping 40% increase on last year’s attendance, arrived with anticipation of having a good catch up, seeing what’s on offer from the many exhibitors and listen to the important areas they need to operate their business legitimately and successfully.

A requirement to share your Letting Agent Registration Number (LARN) everywhere

Charlotte McHaffie, kicked off proceedings, providing Government’s Letting Agent Regulation update, facts, figures and how it’s a robust scrutiny process on anyone who is in control of a business. Her message of “please bear with us… …we’ve taken on extra staff to process applications…. Lots came in just before the deadline” was conveyed, with confirmation that you can still operate if you haven’t got your LARN, as long as you’ve applied.

However, Charlotte did communicate a strong message that all lettings agents must display their LARN on websites and in communications – this is important for consumers to know, highlighting the LARN will stay with you forever, not having one re-issued every three years. One concerned delegate wanted confirmation about displaying them on To Let boards with the answer being a resounding YES, however, no need to rush out and replace all boards, but have a filter process.

Scottish Letting Agent Registration figures

As with all Propertymark conferences, we wouldn’t be able to put on such great events without our key sponsor, and Thomas Ashdown from Citylets, acknowledged this and was pleased to be able to stand up and share their 2018 market overview, announcing a new rental database, and confirming you can add your LARN on their website through your preferences and it will be included on every property that you have listed.

Money Laundering – a stark warning

Mark Hayward, NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive stepped onto the podium to present a stark message to all estate agents regarding the Fourth Money Laundering Directive, and what’s on the horizon in the Fifth Money Laundering Directive. Plus, a big message to all letting agents - start getting ready, it will affect you. Most delegates were furiously taking notes on Mark’s messages of

  • get registered with HMRC
  • appoint a Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO), AND a deputy – what if the officer goes on holiday
  • Register with NCA
  • Have robust process for submitting a suspicious activity reports (SARs)

A big word of warning relating to HMRC checks, if they ring the office… “this is HMRC, I would like to speak to partner, director, owner or manager and could you tell me who your MLRO is?” If your staff don’t know, then HMRC will pay you a visit. HMRC can also turn up at any time, unannounced to do checks.

A topical question, with the audience made up of a mixture of estate and lettings agents, asking for confirmation about the difference if purely a letting agency, an estate agency or both, and if you need a MLRO. Plainly, if you are purely lettings and offer no advice on a sale or purchase you don’t need to register, however, if you give advice then you do need to register.

New Guidance on Fees from Trading Standards

James Munro from the Estate Agency Team at Trading Standards reminded everyone of the new guidance, where to find information and why they are now making all fees transparent or else they will be banned.

New Guidance on Fees

Future developments outlined about the Government going to introduce a programme of qualifications and competency for estate agents. James couldn’t give any timescales, but they will be reporting to Government in July.

A main area James continually highlights at all Propertymark events is material information – confirming the need to make the properties you are offering ready for sale, offer a due diligence to your buyers with perhaps having difficult conversations with sellers to ascertain all issues and then having the foresight to check facts online, use your experience and knowledge, seek advice and opinion and keep notes.

Cartels behaviour - what you need to know and look out for

Clive Robins from the Competitions Market Authority gave a frank and concise account of cartel behaviour - price fixing, market share and exchanging commercially sensitive information, along with recent case studies and prosecutions. His message was be aware of risky situations, recognise key behaviours and beware of what people want you to share with them. If in doubt and if approached, seek legal advice.

Knowing, growing and advice for your business

There were three sessions which offered words of wisdom, experience and services that help you understand your business, your target audience and enable you to grow your business successfully.

Jocelyn Cunliffe ran through a website which offered impartial advice on repairs and maintenance for flat owners, and how it will estate agents. David Pollock offered his experience and shared his insights on how to build a successful estate agency in, what always seems, a challenging market. And everyone should have a robust digital marketing plan, thanks to Google’s Anne Robb, and understand what channels will work to best promote their business in their local area.

A concise legal update

Rory Cowan, of BKF shared information and immeasurable facts and figures picked up over the last year as well as some learned on the first-tier tribunal. With in-depth information given on minimum energy efficiency, right to rent – not any closer to being brought into Scotland but watch this space.

Further information and assistance

Scottish Legislation webinar - Daryl McIntosh, Strategic Development Manager for Scotland and Northern Ireland will run through recent and upcoming legislation. If you have any specific questions, you’d like to raise with Daryl register for the webinar.

Anti-Money Laundering Regulations – being compliant and all you need to know about MLROs and SARs

Smoke Detectors Laws 

To help ARLA Propertymark members we have a fact sheet 'Letting Agent Registration (Scotland) Regulations 2016', which highlights exactly where a LARN should be displayed, this can be accessed in the Member’s Area.