Three key dates for letting agents in 2019
21 December 2018 1141 Views
With a new year nearly upon us, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the major events that are happening in the 12 months to come.
Below, we outline three important dates for letting agents up and down the country to keep an eye out for.
Friday March 29, 2019 - Brexit Day
This is the proposed date for Britain’s departure from the European Union. Given the current state of play, however, this date is subject to change and its status as Brexit day appears to be in considerable doubt.
Whatever the eventual outcome – hard Brexit, soft Brexit, no deal, Theresa May’s plan, Norway-style, Canada-plus, etc – it will have an impact on all parts of life, and a significant bearing on the property market.
It’s hard to prepare too far in advance given the terms of the withdrawal agreement haven’t yet been agreed upon, but the hope is that the certainty and clarity a deal would provide – if the Prime Minister can somehow find a compromise agreement that pleases all sides – would enable the property market to stabilise again and move forward with confidence.
Monday April 1, 2019 – Mandatory CMP membership
It might be April Fools’ Day, but it’s also very often a date in the diary that sees important new legislation introduced. Next year, new measures will be introduced to ensure the money of landlords and tenants is adequately protected. From April it will be mandatory for all letting agents to be members of an approved Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme.
These schemes offer protection if a letting or property agent goes into administration, as well as protecting against theft or misappropriation. Typically, the cash in question is either landlords’ rents or tenants’ deposits, but can sometimes be money for repairs.
During the draft impact assessment of the new regulation in April this year, it was estimated that at least 44% of letting agents are already members of a CMP scheme, but by April next year every agent will need cover.
There are large financial penalties for non-compliance, too, with a maximum fine of £30,000 for those letting agents who fail to join a relevant scheme.
Spring 2019 - Tenant Fees Ban
The actual implementation date for this is still up in-the-air, although the government has for a long time insisted ‘spring 2019 at the earliest’.
Speculation suggests it could be introduced in April and, well over two years after Philip Hammond first announced the controversial proposals, the ban is now much closer to becoming reality.
The Tenant Fees Bill – which will ban nearly all upfront fees and place a cap on security and holding deposits – recently passed the report stage in the House of Lords. It now moves onto a third reading in that chamber (set to be held on January 15, 2019), before returning to the Commons for a considerations of amendments. After that, it can receive Royal Assent and become law.
In other words, it doesn’t have many hurdles left to pass and agents should be able to properly plan ahead in just a few short months, when the exact (final) details of the ban will become clear.
As ever, to face up to the challenges and make the most of the opportunities the next year will bring, you need a smooth, all-in-one property software system and a slick, beautiful website.
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