One of ARLA Propertymark’s most prominent members – a director on the Propertymark board – has criticised the organisation for its stance on the impending ban on letting agent fees.
ARLA Propertymark is fighting the ban, but Patrick Bullick – whose own firm, STANLEY Chelsea, does not charge admin fees to tenants – said it was not an argument the industry can win.
In a blog published yesterday under the title ARLA La Land, Bullick, who is also a former chairman of the NAEA London branch, said: “I have always approved of the drive for high standards within the industry and because of this I have been deeply involved with NAEA and ARLA for many years. I am currently a Director on the Propertymark board.
“These days ARLA Propertymark is a large and effective organisation, standing for good governance in the industry, led by the excellent David Cox.
“In recent times, government departments have started to take our views seriously – the latest example being that, after years of lobbying, Client Money Protection insurance is to be made mandatory for letting and managing agents. Quite right too!
“However, the Government has shocked the industry by announcing legislation to ban letting agents from charging admin fees to tenants.
“ARLA Propertymark has come out fighting hard on behalf of its membership, which is set to lose a valuable income stream.
“At the ARLA Propertymark conference, Baroness Hayter (a great ally of ARLA and all it stands for) warned that high admin charges to tenants creates a clear conflict of interest. Plus, they make letting agents unpopular with tenants, particularly amongst the millennial generation, who move the most frequently.
“At the risk of making myself unpopular, I agree with the Baroness.
“I doubt this is an argument which the industry can win.
“Having Client Money Protection insurance clearly does protect the consumer, but I am not sure that fighting to preserve admin fees to tenants does.
“Personally, I would like the industry to accept no fees to tenants and for ARLA Propertymark to focus its attention on helping to drive rogue letting agents out of business.
“In the meantime, STANLEY Chelsea continues to be one of the few letting agencies that charges no admin fees to tenants, because they make us feel uncomfortable – the admin fees, not the tenants!”
There is more at the link below – and giving reasons why the agent does not charge admin fees, it mentions the word ‘cartel’.