A fifth of all sales agents or approximately 4,000 companies are not members of a Client Money Protection scheme (CMP) and are breaking the law, it has been claimed.
From April 1st this year onwards membership of a CMP scheme has been compulsory for sales agents, as has the requirement to display which of the six approved schemes they have joined.
But six months on and research by one of those companies, Hamilton Fraser’s Client Money Protect, has found that an estimated 20% of agents are still not members of a scheme.
It is now helping the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) identify the ‘small minority of unscrupulous agents’ who have either let their membership of a scheme lapse or who are not displaying their CMP membership credentials to customers.
James Munro, Head of NTSELAT, says: “The team is working with the approved CMP schemes and local authorities to ensure that agents who are required to belong are correctly registered with one of the six approved schemes.
“We have arrangements with local authorities to refer cases for enforcement, and a backstop arrangement where we will take action in cases where a local authority cannot.
“With the support of the schemes, we are also proactively monitoring websites to ensure agents are clearly displaying their membership.”
Eddie Hooker, CEO, Hamilton Fraser, says: “The requirement for all letting and property management agents in the private rented sector in England to join a client money protection scheme has been heavily publicised, agents cannot hide behind ignorance as an excuse for non-compliance.
More information from www.gov.uk/client-money-protection-scheme-property-agents and www.ntselat.uk