The Association of Residential Letting Agents has given its support for what appears to be a government U-turn on Client Money Protection.
Only last week Brandon Lewis, the housing minister, appeared to rule out mandatory CMP on the grounds that it was too heavy-handed and imposed additional red tape on agents.
However, an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill moved by Baroness Hayter and Lord Palmer was approved in the Lords, banning letting agents from taking money from tenants unless they hold separate client money accounts.
Although it falls short of legal compulsion, Baroness Hayter told the Lords that her amendment “would require every letting agent to have the money they hold be protected so even if the letting agent disappeared or went bankrupt the money would be safe. Such money does not belong to the agent, and as with solicitors who handle client money, it should be held in a separate account.”
Now David Cox, ARLA managing director, says this is positive news for consumers.
“This new measure means that when government reviews its property transparency measures later this year, there is a real chance that CMP could finally become mandatory for all property agents in the UK. Consumers may finally have a guarantee that their money is safe and we will continue to work alongside [government] to make this a reality” he says.