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Lettings software for legal compliance

publication date: Aug 15, 2008
author/source: Mark Daruvalla
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ARLA members will be aware that 1st October 2008 will see the introduction of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to all rental properties with a new tenancy in England and Wales, meaning that prospective tenants will be able to see at a glance how energy efficient and environmentally friendly an agents’ properties are.

It remains to be seen whether the introduction of EPCs for the rental market will bring any benefit to the industry. However it does highlight the increasing pressure facing agents, who now have to deal with more and more legislation. While most ARLA members are highly efficient and thorough, agents failing to comply with all of the legal requirements can face severe penalties and, ultimately, business closure in extreme cases.

Among the most important legal requirements are:

Tenant Deposit Schemes:

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme requires letting agents to register the start and end of all new tenancies with the Department of Communities and Local Government. If a tenant’s deposit is not registered with a scheme within 14 days, the tenant can legally demand three times the amount of deposit in compensation, highlighting the importance for all agents to register to an approved scheme.

Section 19(1) (c) Annual Tax Reports

The Inland Revenue does random spot checks on lettings agents to ensure that their end of year tax reports are fully compliant. All property agents need to provide an annual tax report that shows which landlords own which properties and how much income the agent has received on their behalf for the year. The onus is entirely with the property agent to provide this completed form.

Agents of Non UK Resident Landlords

There is further legislation for lettings agents of non UK Resident Landlords. These agents are obligated to provide at least three further forms – the NRLQ (letting agents must pay the tax due quarterly), the NRLY Annual Return (letting agents must complete this form) and the NRL6 (non-resident landlord’s tax deduction certificate).

A minefield made safer by software

For new entrants into the lettings market, these legislative requirements can be a minefield and without the proper specialist software to ensure compliance, agents run the risk of being caught out and facing monetary penalties as well as ruined reputations.

Good software should ensure that legislative and legal compliance matters are taken care of, easing pressure on agents and leaving them with one less thing to worry about. CFP Software’s letting and property management software, CFPwinMan, does just this.

CFP software was established in 1989 and over the last 19 years has been working hard to ensure all their software packages are legally compliant and adhere to all industry regulations. By becoming a Microsoft Certified Partner in 1998 and most recently being accredited by the ICAEW; CFP’s hard work and dedication has been rewarded.

EPC Functionality

CFPwinMan and CFPcommercial (CFP’s software for managing non-residential rented properties) will contain full EPC Functionality. The latest, updated versions due for release soon will cover all aspects of the legislation necessary for agents to comply with the new rules.

TDS Upload Module

CFPwinMan is able to provide huge time savings and create greater efficiency for agents wishing to upload all required tenancy information to The Dispute Service scheme. The TDS Upload Module automatically uploads all the relevant information and reduces the risk of details not being sent to the TDS website. The TDS Upload Module also downloads a copy of the TDS certificate and attaches it to the tenancy.

The solution for all agents lies in software that has been specifically designed to help agents to comply with these measures and legislation without having to rely on memory or a paper trail. However, with so many different types of software available out there, how can agents be sure which one will help them to be fully compliant with all of the regulations?

CFPwinMan software is the most audited software package, facing regular checks from bodies such as ARLA, RICS, NAEA, NALS and Inland Revenue CNR, and it has never failed an audit. This means that any letting agent using CFPwinMan can rest assured that they are using software that has been extensively tried and tested to comply with the requirements of all of the main governing bodies within the industry.

CFP Software, part of GMG Property Services Group, specialise in supplying only the best software solutions to the industry. CFP software is currently used by over 2,000 property management companies, letting agents and estate agents across the UK, with well over 6,000 user licenses, making CFP the market leader in its field.