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Getting CMP Certificates Right5th February 2021 Commercial Litigation
I have recently heard stories of agents in London being fined for not properly displaying their Letting Agent Client Money Protection Certificates.
The Client Money Protection Schemes for Property Agents (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc.) Regulations 2019 set out the obligation to have client money protection and the requirements about notifying it. Importantly, regulation 4 sets out so-called transparency requirements.
The transparency requirements in regulation 4 include displaying the certificate in every premises at a place where the public are likely to see it. But they also include publishing the certificate on the agent’s website. It is important to note here that the regulations are explicit that the certificate must be published. It is not good enough to simply show a scheme logo.
The fine for not complying with the transparency requirement is £5,000 and I hear that agents in London are receiving these fines. There is no defence to a failure to display except for a failure by the protection scheme to supply the certificate where the agent has taken all reasonable steps to obtain it. So it will not be good enough to plead ignorance, incorrect advice, or slow website developers.
Hopefully there are not too many agents in this position but the message on this is and remains clear. The obligation to comply with agent regulations is specific and failures, even relatively minor ones, will be punished harshly.