Earlier this week, housing minister Gavin Barwell launched a consultation exercise, seeking the opinions of agents and others in the Private Rented Sector regarding whether client money protection (CMP) should become mandatory. Although the consultation period doesn’t close until October 3, the industry as a whole has more or less shown unanimous support for it within just 48 hours.
Many major organisations within the Private Rented Sector have backed CMP, including ARLA, NALS, the RLA, and SAFEagent, who have been campaigning for mandatory CMP for a number of years.
Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, letting agents are required to be transparent about their fees; whether or not they are part of a CMP scheme; and which redress scheme they belong to. Although participation in a scheme is voluntary, between 60 and 80% of letting agents currently offer CMP.
However, the government has had reservations about making it mandatory, as making agents “pay to belong to a scheme would force honest agents to buy insurance against themselves being fraudulent. Something the vast majority of agents are not.”
But SAFEagent claims that money should not be an issue. They have stated that “the cost of CMP is a small price to pay by an agent who genuinely wants to protect their clients and consumers.”
With such strong and vocal support for the measure, there is a good chance that mandatory CMP will be added into the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
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