All letting agents in England are now required to belong to an approved Client Money Protection scheme, a measure designed to prevent rogue letting agents stealing your money.
The change, which comes into play from today, will mean that if any letting agent goes bust or makes off, the money belonging to landlords and renters will remain safe. Any agent that has not yet joined up to a government-approved scheme could face a fine of up to £30,000.
Previously, membership of a CMP scheme was voluntary with approximately 60% of agents signed up.
“From Monday, all agents will need to have joined an Approved CMP scheme, or they will be operating illegally and risk facing large fines,” said David Cox, chief executive, ARLA Propertymark.
“Those who haven’t yet joined a scheme must sign up to one immediately. Propertymark has received formal approval from the housing minister, Heather Wheeler, to operate a government-authorised CMP scheme on behalf of its members, so they are all automatically covered.”
Those who are not part of a professional body must make their own arrangements.
Reflecting on the new regulations, Heather Wheeler, minister for housing and homelessness, commented: “It is not acceptable that some tenants and landlords are being put at risk of losing out financially, simply because their agent had not signed up to a scheme to protect their money.
“Whilst the vast majority of agents act responsibly, this new law will prevent people from losing their hard-earned cash through no fault of their own.
“This will give tenants and landlords confidence and peace of mind that their money is in safe hands whilst with their agent.”