For private renters, who pay an average of £192 each week in rent, the introduction of mandatory client money protection for letting agents is very welcome news. As a housing advice provider, Shelter all too often sees the worst examples of poor practice in the lettings industry and has long called on the Government to ensure letting agents cannot abuse the money paid to them by tenants.
We know that many responsible agents already voluntarily join CMP schemes, ensuring that landlords and tenants who use their services receive this basic consumer protection. And many within the industry have worked hard to champion CMP; with the professional bodies making this is a requirement of their membership and the SAFEagent Campaign making it easier to identify agents who are protecting client money.
However tenants very rarely choose their letting agent; they shop around based on location and price of properties, not the quality of service provided by the letting agent. Therefore making CMP mandatory is the only way to ensure that all private renters have their money protected – not only those who are lucky enough to rent from a landlord who has chosen a SAFEagent.
The campaign for mandatory CMP is a great example of what can be achieved when organisations from across the industry work together to tackle issues in private renting. Between now and April 2019, this collective effort will need to continue to ensure all agents are aware of the new CMP requirements, and that landlords and tenants know to only use letting agents who are complying with them.
Rhea Newman, Policy Officer
Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness. We provide specialist advice and support on the phone, face to face and online, and our legal teams can attend court to defend people at risk of losing their home. However at Shelter we understand that helping people with their immediate problems is not a long-term solution to the housing crisis.
That’s why we campaign to tackle the root causes, so that one day, no one will have to turn to us for help.
We’re here so no one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own.
 English Housing Survey, Headline Report, 2016-17