The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has predicted that 2010 will be a challenging year for the Private Rental Sector (PRS).

Landlords may find opportunities in buy-to-let properties, but if unemployment continues to rise so will the number of tenants who cannot meet rental payments, the association reported.

Property oversupply should decrease next year as a result of landlords leaving the PRS.

Demand will consequently increase - forcing landlords to ensure property is of good quality, said Ian Potter, ARLA's operations manager.

This could result in a positive effect on the sector and lead to higher standards, he noted.

Mortgage defaulting was highlighted by the association as an issue which "will not go away in a hurry", claimed Mr Potter.

There also needs to be a government-imposed national register of landlords or a new regulatory scheme, he added.

ARLA's licensing scheme, launched in May 2009, has been an "overwhelming success", it reported.

Rules of the scheme are that any principle of a letting agency wanting to become an ARLA member must first abide by their rules and apply to become an ARLA licensed agent.

Under ARLA's code of conduct "members' client bank accounts are required to be audited annually ensuring that they conform to a stringent accounting practice".

Written by Sarah FieldADNFCR-2002-ID-19508474-ADNFCR

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