Agents complying with Client Money Protection in England
All agents in England whose business covers lettings and property management whereby you hold client money, must belong to a government-approved Client Money Protection scheme from 1 April 2019.
Client Money Protection (CMP) is a compensation scheme which remunerates landlords and tenants if an agent misappropriates rent, deposit or other client funds. It is a requirement for NAEA Propertymark members to have CMP if their business includes lettings or property management, ensuring the membership obtained has the level of compensation available which isn’t less than the maximum amount of client money held.
The Government has approved CMP schemes for letting and property management agents in the private rented sector, and they include:
There are various transparency requirements to show compliance, and customers and prospective customers are supplied with all the information, as well as displaying and publishing all relevant certificates and documentation.
Certificates must be:
- Displayed prominently in all premises
- Published on the agent’s website
- Produce, free-of-charge, a copy for anyone who requests it
Change of circumstances
When membership of an approved scheme is revoked, ceases or changes all clients must be notified within 14 days furnishing them with details the new scheme.
Every local authority in England has the responsibility to enforce the requirements and they follow any guidance provided by the Secretary of State. The local authority can impose a financial penalty for any breaches, as well as those that occur outside their area.
There will be civil penalties of up to £30,000 for non-compliance within the requirements to belong to a scheme, which is kept by the local authority to fund enforcement.
Rogue letting agent Manish Manek was found guilty of 17 counts of theft involving tenants’ deposits and rent owed to landlords. He stole £47,000 before fleeing the UK in October 2012. A police investigation found that Manek had been putting tenant deposits and rent into his personal account.
He was finally arrested and sentenced to jail leaving landlords and tenants out of pocket. His victims never saw their money returned.
It is estimated that letting agents currently hold approximately £2.7 billion in client funds and yet, if a letting agent is not covered by CMP, both landlords and tenants could stand to lose their money.
NAEA Propertymark are raising standards in the industry and to protect consumers and our Client Money Protection scheme is an integral part of this. It is mandatory for all NAEA Propertymark Principal, Partner or Director Member Firms to have CMP in place for every company that acts as an agency in property (including the auctioning of chattels) and handles client money or uses a third party to control its client money.
Resources and further information
A detailed and comprehensive Fact Sheet can be accessed in the Member’s Area. A Client Money Protection (CMP) leaflet can be downloaded to send to your clients and hard copies are available from our online shop too.
Kindly shared by NAEA Propertymark