Letting agents must protect your money with a Client Money Protection Scheme. Agents must display which Client Money Protection Scheme they use. Any agent that doesn’t is taking your money illegally.
These schemes protect any money you pay to the agent as deposit and rent - even if the agent closes down.
You should be careful about scams. Always make sure that anyone claiming to be a landlord or an agent is genuine. Unfortunately there have been many scams – for example when would-be tenants are tricked into paying an upfront fee to rent a property that in reality either does not exist, has already been rented out, or has been rented to multiple victims at the same time.
Find out more about from Action Fraud about rental fraud.
From 1 April 2019, all letting and managing agents must belong to a government-approved client money protection (CMP) scheme or face a financial penalty of up to £30,000.
There are the only approved schemes:
Apart from registering with a CMP scheme, agents must also display their membership certificate in each office and on their website.
Agents must write to tenants and clients within 14 days if the details of their scheme membership changes.
The council can fine agents up to £30,000 for not belonging to an approved Client Money Protection Scheme, and up to £5,000 for failing to display their membership clearly.
What if an agent is not making it clear whether they belong to a Client Money Protection Scheme?
The council’s Trading Standards service will take action against any agent who does not belong to a Client Money Protection Scheme – or does not display that membership clearly.
If your agent does not belong to a scheme, or will not tell you, or if they say they belong to a scheme but are not displaying the logo, please report them to Trading Standards.
The council can fine agents £30,000 for not complying with the law.
To report an agent to Trading Standards, you just call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline and tell them you want to report a letting agent to Tower Hamlets Trading Standards. The consumer helpline will assess your problem and pass it on to Trading Standards if it's appropriate.
- Citizens Advice consumer helpline
Tel: 03454 04 05 06
Textphone: 18001 03454 04 05 06
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Closed on bank holidays.
An adviser will answer your call as soon as possible, usually within a few minutes. Once you're speaking to an adviser your call should take an average of 8 to 10 minutes.
Be prepared to tell the adviser details of the problem and the company’s name and address.
You can also contact consumer helpline - make sure you mention that you want to report a trader to Trading Standards.
They might contact you for more information and evidence. Depending on what we find out, we might take action to stop the agent from acting unfairly. For example we might educate the agent about the law or take legal action against them to stop them from trading completely.
We may also fine them - the council can fine agents up to £5,000 for not belonging to one of these schemes, or for not displaying which scheme they belong to, or for falsely displaying membership of a scheme which they do not belong to.