Project to check compliance of letting agents
Letting agents could face fines of up to £30,000 if they are failing to comply with standards.
Dudley Council is taking part in a regional project as part of the The Central England Trading Standards Authorities [CEnTSA] group to carry out compliance checks on lettings agents across the region.
Since April 2019 letting agents have been required by law to belong to an approved Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme to ensure tenant and/or landlord money is protected should the business fail.
In the West Midlands there are hundreds of letting agents handling client money every day, so any significant level of non-compliance with the law could leave considerable sums of tenant and/or landlord money at risk.
Letting agents are also required to belong to an approved redress scheme and to publish their CMP certificate and other important information on their websites and in their offices.
A similar project began in London in 2020 and found hundreds of letting agents non-compliant with these requirements.
Councillor Ian Bevan, cabinet member for public health, said:
We’re pleased to be part of this regional project to carry out compliance work to ensure agents are handling people’s money as they should.
If any agent is found to be failing to comply with their legal requirements, we will not hesitate to take action
People can contact our trading standards team if they have any concerns or the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.
Businesses are being given advance notice to check they are taking the steps necessary and that they are compliant.
Advice will be available from Dudley Trading Standards on 01384 817997 should agents have any queries, although significant work has already been done by The National Trading Standards Estates and Letting Agents team (NTSELAT) with the various professional representative bodies for agents.
Failure to comply may see agents face similar levels of fines to those in London.