Given that thousands of landlords and tenants are not protected by client money protection (CMP), placing money held by letting agents are at risk, the government is being urged to press ahead with the consultation on the implementation and enforcement of CMP as soon as possible.
SAFEagent is calling on the government to honour its pledge to make CMP schemes mandatory for all letting and managing agents ‘at the earliest opportunity’.
Letting agents in the UK currently hold more than £2.7bn of landlord and tenants’ money in the form of rent and tenancy deposits, but it is believed that around one in five landlords and tenants would not be able to recover their funds if an agent steals the cash or uses it fraudulently because their money is not protected under the CMP scheme.
The SAFEagent campaign, which is supported by Citizens Advice Bureaux, The Property Ombudsman, Ombudsman Services:Property, the Property Redress Scheme, My Deposits, TDS, DPS and Endsleigh, has written to housing minister, Alok Sharma MP, to ask him to move forward with the plans.
John Midgley, chair of the SAFEagent steering group, commented: “Since we launched SAFEagent in 2011, we’ve been raising awareness among consumers that any agents they engage with should be part of a CMP scheme. This is a really important part of protecting tenants and landlords.
“We welcome the government’s announcement that it intends to introduce regulation to the lettings and management sector. But this move shouldn’t be to the detriment of the good work it’s done moving towards mandatory CMP.
“While most agents run good, professional businesses, there are still instances where rogue agents misappropriate clients’ funds. If they are not part of a CMP scheme, there is no recourse for those clients. Therefore, we’re urging the Government to move forward with the consultation on the implementation and enforcement of CMP at the earliest opportunity.”
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