HOUSE OF LORDS VOTES AGAINST MANDATORY CLIENT MONEY PROTECTION

The Nottingham Post, Thursday 4 December 2014) reported on a House of Lords vote and its implications for renters and landlords ...

If you are renting your next home or you’re a landlord, make sure you do your homework and ensure your agent is properly qualified and prepared to look after your deposit or rent properly. Last week the House of Lords voted against the amendment to make Client Money Protection mandatory for all letting agents in the Consumer Rights Bill.

David Cox, managing director of Association of Residential Lettings Agents (Arla), said: "We supported the amendment in the Consumer Rights Bill for Client Money Protection to be made compulsory for all letting agents, in order to fully protect consumers in the housing market.

"Client Money Protection schemes would provide guaranteed compensation to landlords and tenants should a letting agent abscond or misuse any money they are holding for either party, such as deposit or rent. Without obligatory protection schemes in place, tenants and landlords have no guarantee they can get their money back should something go wrong.

"The House of Lords voted against the amendment to make Client Money Protection mandatory for all letting agents.

Instead, the government agreed that it should be compulsory for all letting agents to display or publish a statement clearly stating whether the agent is a member of a Client Money Protection scheme, along with the list of its fees, so that consumers and landlords are able to make up their own minds before choosing to use that agent's services.

"Although this is a step in the right direction, this still means that not all letting agents have to be, or are, part of a protection scheme," said Mr Cox.

"Therefore, although an improvement, this still does not offer a guaranteed level of protection for all tenants and landlords.

"Arla urges consumers and tenants to always check that they are using a letting agent with a Client Money Protection scheme to assure their money is safeguarded should something go wrong."