So ‘Client Money Protection’, what is it? and why does my letting agent need to have it?
The official description is:
“Client Money Protection is a scheme designed to protect client money, held by Property Agents and Professionals. The Member’s clients are protected in the event that the Member misappropriates the client money held in the course of running their business”.
So in layman’s terms, it is a form of insurance that covers you, should your Letting Agent decide to spend all the money that is given to him, by any Landlord or Tenant (clients).
There have been several large cases of client money been used personally by Letting Agents in the past. One from last year is – http://bit.ly/2eGbYdk
Another, which involved a serious amount of money was – http://bit.ly/2fGdwbR
Following these and many other cases, there have been calls for CMP to be made compulsory for all Letting Agents.
It is thought that in the region of 80% of all agents currently have CMP, but with around £2.7 billion of client money held by Letting Agents, without CMP both the Tenants and Landlords could lose their money.
The property sector is currently going through wholesale regulation changes for both Agents, and self-managing Landlords.
Instead of putting in regulation and tax changes that persecute Landlords, why not bring in some changes to protect them?
As a letting agent, I never get asked by landlords if I have CMP, but as an educated Landlord I would never put my properties with anyone who didn’t!
To make CMP mandatory would:
- Take away any doubt of protection from a Landlord or Tenant
- Give piece of mind to the Landlord and Tenant that their money is safe
- Give credibility to the Letting Agent that they are compliant.
The only current requirement is for Letting Agents to display whether they are part of a client money protection scheme, which in my eyes is simply not good enough.
The penalties for not adhering to these regulations is a fine of up to £5000. But the outcome for Landlords and tenants who have their money with a letting agent without CMP, may be catastrophic if that agent decides to abuse their privileges, so is £5000 enough?
Now will you ask your letting agent if they have CMP?