From Brexit to the Tenant Fee Ban, these are some of the most important dates to make a note of for your agency this year:
With the new year upon us, it’s always a good idea to become aware of important dates that are going to effect you as an agent in the next 12 months. We’re looking at some of the most important dates for 2019 that you need to be prepared for.
29th March 2019 – Brexit Day
This is the proposed date for Britain’s departure from the European Union.
With under three months until the date for the UK’s departure from the EU, it’s imperative for the property industry to prepare for all eventual outcomes.
With details of the final deal still unknown, both buyers and sellers are currently putting their property plans on hold. Once the details are clearer, we’ll have a degree of certainty – which, in turn, could trigger a bout of activity. So, whether a hard or soft Brexit is achieved; whether a chaotic no-deal is reached, or a Canada Style agreement is made – this date will certainly have an impact on all parts of life, and certainly a significant bearing on the property market.
Spring 2019 – Tenant Fee Ban in England and Wales
Although the government has said that it will not reveal an implementation date for the banning on agents’ fees on tenants until after the measure has been given Royal Assent and becomes law, this will certainly be one of the most significant dates of 2019 for letting agents.
The Tenant Fees Bill goes to the House of Lords on January 15 for its Third Reading – this will be the final chance for amendments to be made to the legislation.
“An implementation date will be confirmed after the Bill receives Royal Assent” says the latest MHCLG statement. Speculation suggests that the ban could be introduced in April.
Agents can reduce impact by simply being prepared. As we 2019, agents need to review business practices, and ensure they put effective administration and management tools into place.
1st April, 2019 – Mandatory CMP membership
Following evidence to MPs and industry-wide lobbying led by ARLA Propertymark, the Housing and Planning Act 2016 introduced powers allowing the Government to bring in legislation making membership of an approved or designated CMP scheme mandatory. This is great news for both landlords and tenants.
The Client Money Protection Schemes for Property Agents (Requirement to Belong to a Scheme etc.) Regulations stipulates that agents must:
- Belong to a CMP
- Display a certificate that confirms membership of a CMP, both in-branch and on its website
- Provide a copy of this certificate, free of charge, if requested
- Tell clients within 14 days if their CMP has been revoked, or if they switch to another CMP
- Provide to clients the name and address of the CMP scheme of which they are a member
- The level of cover must be sufficient to cover the maximum amount of money that the agents hold for their clients.
There are large financial penalties for non-compliance, with a maximum fine of £30,000 for letting agents who fail to join a relevant scheme.
2019 will certainly be a crucial year for influencing the evolution of the modern letting agency. This year, the most successful agencies will look to adopt a slicker business model which embraces useful technology such as automation, with an emphasis on improving client retention rates through accurate administration and processes.