You must join a ‘client money protection scheme’ if you’re a letting or property management agent in the private rented sector in England and you hold clients’ money.
These schemes make sure landlords and tenants are compensated if you cannot repay their money, for example if you go into administration. This is different to tenancy deposit protection.
You may be fined up to £30,000 if you do not join a client money protection scheme.
The rules are different in:
- Wales - you need to join a money protection scheme before you apply for an agent licence through Rent Smart Wales
- Northern Ireland - you do not have to join a client money protection scheme
You can join any of the following approved schemes:
- hold your clients’ money in an account with a bank or building society authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority
- get a certificate confirming membership of the scheme you join, and provide it to anyone who asks, free of charge
You’ll need to display the certificate:
- in any office where you deal with the public
- on your website
You may be fined up to £5,000 if you do not display a certificate of membership or provide it when asked.