Ajay Jagota, letting agent with KIS
Lettings, has criticised ARLA over the controversial recent
collapse of Charterhouse lettings. ARLA have, however, responded
with a statement that they acted appropriately as soon as they were
aware there was a problem.
Jagota said: "It seems to me to
be highly unlikely that no one noticed a thing, or that no one
picked up the phone to ARLA to query the situation until the best
part of £1m was at stake.
"ARLA must come clean about what they knew and when, how any
audits of this firm missed its surely apparent shortcomings and
weaknesses, and launch an immediate investigation into how this was
allowed to happen.
"Why did their checks and balances
fail so miserably on this occasion?
"Why were none of their much-vaunted sanctions and disciplinary
measures ever imposed on this individual apart from the revoking of
his membership a month after his business collapsed - a step I do
not believe will have brought much comfort or consolation to the
landlords who put their trust in an ARLA-regulated firm which has
left them thousands of pounds out of pocket.
"ARLA are clearly doing valuable work attempting to get
Charterhouse's creditors their money back and I am completely
supportive of any attempts to maintain and improve professional
standards and build public trust in the rental sector, but frankly,
what use is a watchdog which won't bark as landlords are left
£750,000 out of pocket?"
ARLA defend procedures in wake
of letting agent collapse
Ian Potter of ARLA refuted the
accusations, saying: "The agent concerned was up to date with their
accountants report and the figures contained in the last report
were shown as being in balance. Until we became aware of the
failure of the business there had been no reason for any
investigation or disciplinary action. The eventual collapse of the
business occurred quickly and we acted as soon as we were aware of
the full depth of the problem.
"We are receiving claims from
landlords and tenants for compensation under our Client Money
Protection Scheme and all claims for compensation will be
investigated fully and dealt with as appropriate. We do actively
work with members where we are aware of issues and it's only thanks
to their membership that this financial protection is in place
should the worst happen."