Industry body calls out ‘major flaw’ in looming PRS regulation laws

Claim is made by Isobel Thomson, boss of Safeagent, following her review of the Government's recent white paper A Fairer Private Rented Sector.

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Estate agency accreditation body safeagent has called on the Government to include membership of a client money protection (CMP) scheme in its plans to publish details of rogue agents.

The recent A Fairer Private Rented Sector white paper, known as the renters’ reform bill, promises to establish a Property Portal that will make public details of landlords and agents who fail to comply with the laws and regulations covering the sector.

But Safeagent chief executive Isobel Thomson (main picture) says the exclusion – at the moment – of CMP in the government’s plans would be a ‘crucial gap’ in the future of policing the industry.

CMP is a legal requirement and provides essential protection for both tenants and landlords, so it’s omission is significant, she says.

“We welcome the Government’s announcement that the rogue landlord and letting agent database will be made public, helping renters choose from the vast majority in the sector who do their job properly,” she says.

“But we are concerned the database is currently missing a crucial element.

“Inclusion under a Client Money Protection scheme has been a legal obligation for agents since 2019 – and has improved consumer confidence in the system knowing that their money is protected from misappropriation and fraud.

“Yet failure to be part of a CMP scheme appears to be absent from the defined offences on the database, the terms of which were defined before the requirement for CMP was introduced.”

“Financial protection in the PRS is something safeagent and its agents long campaigned for – meaningful choice for consumers requires open and accurate information to inform their choice.”

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