We did it! From 1 April 2019 the SAFEagent campaign will have achieved its objective and it will be mandatory for all letting agents to have Client Money Protection (CMP).
As we approach this milestone, it’s worth taking some time to reflect on the road that led us here and thank all the SAFEagents who campaigned so hard to make it a reality.
Seven years ago, a group of letting agents decided enough was enough. Too many landlords and tenants were losing out when criminal agents stole tenants’ and landlords’ money. These consumers had no clear path to recourse, and more were at risk of losing their money if their agent wasn’t part of a CMP scheme. We needed to do something…and so the SAFEagent campaign was born.
A great deal has changed in the private rented sector in those seven years, but throughout that time, mandatory CMP remained frustratingly out of reach. Our sector is not a small one, in fact, agents are estimated to hold an incredible £2.9 billion in client accounts. Every year we campaigned, we held SAFEagent Awareness Week, we cajoled, we lobbied! And eventually, we convinced Government.
At a time when letting agents are too often portrayed as the ‘bad guys’ the SAFEagent campaign is a true example of how they are anything but. With industry working together for a common aim of consumer protection we have finally achieved mandatory client money protection for all agents, a huge win for all – the professional agents who already have CMP in place and the tenants and landlords whose money will now be safe with all agents.
We’re grateful for all the letting agents who gave time and effort to support the campaign, putting self-interest aside to pull together for a common aim. Those who supported and showed leadership where there could have been competition, those groups, industry organisations and businesses who came together to form what was lacking. In particular, the campaign is indebted to NALS for providing the administrative back up and helping us to realise the aim of the campaign.
We remember the first Chair of SAFEagent, Nick Cooper for his work and campaigning, we are sure he would be extremely proud.
John Midgley, Chair of SAFEagent