The government has announced that all letting agents will be required to “satisfy minimum training requirements” in order to trade.
The provision is revealed in a consultation document, launched this morning, which is chiefly about mandatory membership of client protection schemes.
However, on page 15 of the document, there is a statement saying: “The government intends to require that all letting agents must register with an appropriate organisation in order to trade. This will mean that letting agents would be required to satisfy minimum training requirements, abide by an industry code of conduct in order to practise and comply with all existing legal requirements. Once client money protection scheme membership is mandated, non-compliant agents would not be permitted to operate until they obtain cover since being a member of a scheme will be a requirement to trade.”
Earlier in the document, the government says that it is adopting an idea put forward by a working group that there should be a “lead enforcement body to manage enforcement of mandatory client money protection scheme membership and have responsibility for developing advice, standards and guidance.”
This is to be the National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team based in Powys county council, which is already well known as the enforcement authority for estate agents and for the Estate Agent Act 1979.
This morning’s new consultation document says: “This body is proposed to have enforcement powers as well as responsibility for providing guidance and support to local authorities to carry out their responsibilities regarding the operation and enforcement of relevant letting agent legislation, including mandatory membership of a client money protection scheme.”
The 19-page consultation document on client money protection can be found here but agents wishing to respond should note it has a relatively tight deadline - December 13.