I must admit, I never thought it would happen That day in 1993, when I walked into the ARLA interview aged 21, thinking I knew everything and quickly realising, I knew very little, becoming president of this highly regarded entity, was a long distant and seemingly impossible dream But here we are… Be careful what you wish for, because dreams can come true, and this year for me, they did… After 24 years of membership, 10 years as a regional representative and 3 years on the Board of ARLA, I finally became THE President of ARLA, the organisation that helped me achieve most of what I have achieved to date. So what does ARLA mean to us and other agents exactly…? Isn’t it just a badge? Many feel ARLA is just a badge, but if you are a member you will know that it is in fact so much more… Over the years, ARLA has helped me and my team develop systems to help us deal with the HUGE amount of regulation and legislation in the industry, adding processes and structure to everything that we do, giving us a real “How To” guide so to speak. They have educated my team and given them pride, in achieving their qualifications, and recognition for their hard work, but also a chance to look deeper into the industry, beyond what we do here at Concentric too. Through the Code of conduct, the audits, regulation and compliance standards, they give us a “quality kite mark” and a standard to adhere too, so that we can identify ourselves against the competition in the town too, which is so important now. Right now, ARLA protects the industry, lobbying government, challenging the powers that be on their proposals and giving us a voice, standing up for both agents and our client landlords, most recently lobbying on The Landlord Tax or Clause 24, Tenant Fees, the need to test smoke alarms on the day of move in, capital gains tax rules and much more… So what is the future of the Lettings Industry? The industry we know has become a political football for politicians to play with and to foster votes, landlords and agents, together we need all the support we can get as we ride the changes that are coming our way… Already due to the excessive amount of regulatory requirements put on us as agents/landlords, just the process of setting up a tenancy file, takes over 17 hours work, and the compliance side of our business is a full time job, keeping up with the daily regulatory aspects, just to keep our landlords safe and compliant. So we will see a lot more change, we will see a lot more regulations, there will be a lot more players in the game for all of us, but I’m sure that , just like every other industry that has gone through this process, the ones that stay WIN whilst the weak RUN… Whatever happens, I am looking forward to working in the sector and helping many others do the same too, keeping landlords and tenant’s happy, property investment profitable and to make sure every person in the PRS’s experience is as best as it can be. Sally Lawson CEO of Concentric Franchise President of ARLA
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