This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

Self-regulatory bodies

This content applies to England

Self-regulatory bodies have a role in monitoring letting agencies .

Three self-regulatory bodies

Most letting agencies must belong to a government approved redress scheme which can provide an independent investigation of complaints against its members –  see the page on Complaints against agencies: redress schemes for details.

In addition there are a number of self-regulatory bodies:

  • the Association of Residential Letting Agents –  this is the professional self-regulating body for letting agencies. Its website contains a list of its members and a checklist of what tenants should ask agencies. The Association of Residential Letting Agents may be able to help a tenant who complains about unacceptable conduct by one of its members
  • the National Association of Estate Agents –  this is the professional self-regulating body for estate agents who act as accommodation and/or letting agents
  • the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors –  this regulates and promotes chartered surveyors and technical surveyors and is required to act in the public interest.

National Approved Letting Scheme

All the above mentioned bodies have collaborated to form the National Approved Letting Scheme which aims to protect tenants and landlords.

Members of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, National Association of Estate Agents and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, as well as private registered providers of social housing, can apply for membership of the National Approved Letting Scheme and must meet defined minimum standards governing the service provided by the agency to the landlord and the tenant.

Member agencies are required to:

  • visit each property to arrange safety checks
  • explain the rights and responsibilities of the tenant and the landlord
  • provide a written tenancy agreement
  • set out the services they will provide and what they will cost (for example, how much they will charge for drawing up the tenancy agreement)
  • give greater consumer protection, to both tenants and landlords, than agencies who are not members of the National Approved Letting Scheme
  • provide a complaints procedure.

Disputes between the landlord and the tenant will not normally be dealt with by the National Approved Letting Scheme.

Membership of the National Approved Letting Scheme can be withdrawn or refused to agencies who do not comply with its rules of conduct.

SAFE kitemark

SAFE agent was launched in September 2011. Managed by the National Approved Letting Scheme and approved by the Government, SAFE agent is a scheme to help protect landlords and tenants from unscrupulous letting agents. There is a SAFE kitemark that will allow landlords and tenants to identify agents who protect the money of tenants and landlords in an insurance scheme.

The SAFE agent website provides a search facility for a 'SAFE agent' by town or postcode.

Back to top