Government acts on SAFEagent financial protection concerns

SAFEagent welcomes the surprise move by Government with the introduction of an additional amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill (currently at Report stage in the House of Lords) to require all lettings and management agents to display, along with all fees and charges to landlords and tenants, whether the firm offers the financial protection of being part of a Client Money Protection (CMP) Scheme*.

Since its launch in 2011 the SAFEagent campaign started ‘by agents for agents’ has been calling for inclusion under a CMP scheme to be made mandatory for all agents.

It appears as if Housing Minister (Brandon Lewis MP) has had a change of heart since SAFEagent wrote to him recently. He had responded that he had ‘no plans at that time’ to make CMP mandatory but he appears to have listened to the concerns of the SAFEgent campaign.

Chair of the SAFEagent Steering Group, John Midgley says:

“We are delighted that the Government has made this common sense move and listened to our concerns on the need for financial protection for landlords and tenants.

“This is the first step in ensuring that being part of a CMP scheme is made a mandatory requirement.

“We understand the Government’s focus on taking action to ensure transparency and fairness of letting agents’ fees and charges which addresses the financial aspects of entering into a tenancy but, in order to offer real consumer protection for the whole process agents should be part of a CMP Scheme. This new move goes part way to addressing the situation.

“Consumers should always ask an agent they are dealing with if they are part of a CMP scheme and if not why not?

“We would urge all peers to give their support to this amendment when it is debated in the House of Lords early next week.”

SAFEagent is widely recognised as the mark to look for to take the risk out of the rental sector and has already been recognised by the Government and key industry organisations such as DPS, TDS, My Deposits, Ombudsman Services: Property, The Property Ombudsman Scheme, CAB, RLA and the Trading Standards Institute as well as being supported by industry suppliers such as Endsleigh and Imfuna. There are over 3000 agents offices signed up to the SAFEagent campaign.

The SAFEagent campaign is driven by the SAFEagent Steering Group comprising of representatives from the following firms:

Belvoir

Countrywide

Foxtons

Hunters

Leaders

Northwood

Savills

Sequence

Spicerhaart

Touchstone

The Connells Group

Winkworth

Full details of the amendment can be found here.

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