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Shooting the Team

Thursday May 3, 2018

Organising a photo shoot for our newest staff member Kayley McKnight was not rocket science but it meant I had to ensure everybody knew where they had to be and when. This done, I sent out an email headed “we are ready to shoot Kayley. To be informed that I had probably blipped the radar of the security services and may expect a visit from some big, unsmiling types in search of a body.

Lesson learned. Think before you hit ‘send’. A lesson which provides a handy if slightly tenuous link to Kayley’s role here at Heaton Property. Kayley will be largely responsible for compliance with our Code of Conduct, ensuring the interests of our landlords and tenants are fully protected.

Like any reputable managing agent our code is determined by a recognised professional body, in our case ARLA Propertymark. The code covers every aspect of our business from how we handle tenants deposits to how a tradesperson receives a works order. Protection for landlord and tenant are paramount.

All very well but there are a small number of manging agents who’s only code of conduct is their own. Astonishingly for a profession taking money and covered by the Consumer Rights Act, currently someone can step out of prison today and be a managing agent tomorrow. Fortunately, this is about to change.

In April the Government announced its response to consultations on industry regulation and client money protection in England. If approved this will mean managing agents will be required by law to adhere to a code of conduct and to employ at least one person with a higher qualification. Step forward Kayley who has a National Federation of Property Professionals qualification.

A new and independent regulator will oversee agents working practices and will have enforcement powers to deal with rogue agents. There is a suggestion of criminal sanctions for agents who severely breach the code.

For once our industry is supportive of new legislation. David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark recently said “”We are hugely supportive of these proposals. After 20 years of campaigning, the Government has finally listened to our call for proper regulation of the industry.”

“For the last two decades, successive Governments have passed significant amounts of complex legislation on landlords; none of which have been properly policed or adequately enforced. These announcements demonstrate a very sensible shift towards focusing on the root cause of the issues affecting the sector rather than trying to find legislative solutions to individual problems.”

As someone who has regularly railed against ill-thought out legislation in our sector this is something of a novelty – full support for new legislation. While legislative protection for landlords and tenants is welcomed I am also aware it will mean no extra work for myself or our staff. As ARLA Propertymark members we have been compliant with the code of conduct since day one.

I leave the last word to American businesswoman Cathy Englebert, CEO of Deloitte who said “Our goal is to set the gold standard when it comes to compliance.” That should hold true for any successful business and if it takes legislation to turn that truth into fact, I for one welcome it warmly.

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