The government has confirmed that all property agents in England will need to be part of an approved Client Money Protection scheme by April 1 next year.
“After a long fight, ARLA Propertymark’s campaign for mandatory Client Money Protection is finally won. With the help of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, and cross-party consensus in the House of Lords, this is a vital step forward in improving consumer protection in the rental sector; probably more so than the myriad of other laws passed over the last two decades” says David Cox, ARLA’s chief executive.
“We look forward to working with the government to guarantee that the level playing field we’ve fought so hard to create becomes a reality on April 1 next year” he adds.
Others lettings bodies have been similarly enthusiastic.
Isobel Thomson, chief executive of NALS says the announcement is a milestone after too many cases involving “rogues and criminals taking money from innocent tenants and landlords.”
John Midgley, chair of SAFEagent, adds: “It’s important to remind all consumers that although regulations have been laid, they won’t be law until April 2019. That means their money is still at risk if their chosen agent does not have client money protection.”
Gerry Fitzjohn, chairman of The Property Ombudsman board, has also welcomed the news, saying: “Ultimately it will make the sector a fairer place for consumers, and we look forward to this coming into effect next year.”
There had been speculation for some weeks that an announcement would be made this spring.
Agents in organisations including NALS and ARLA are already in CMP schemes - this is believed to account for up to 80 per cent of the 16,000 letting agency branches in England.