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The importance of knowing how to safeguard tenancy deposits

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A thirst to get qualified at the Propertymark Wales National Conference

Friday 18 October 2019

With so much change for agents in Wales in 2019, the delegates at the Propertymark Wales National Conference heard a legislative reminder on anti-money laundering, referral fees and the regulation of the industry.

Propertymark Qualifications saw their exhibition stand inundated with enquiries regarding the options for agents to get qualified ahead of the regulation of the industry.

Mike Smith, Head of Propertymark Qualifications said: "I was enthused to see the appetite of the Welsh delegates to get qualified as well as making sure their existing qualifications, which were taken many years ago are up to the standard of the modules currently included."

Propertymark Qualifications

Anti-money laundering

With the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive coming into force on 10 January 2020, David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive, reminded everyone in the industry to be disciplined and this is the first time the lettings industry will be included in the scope. Stating the threshold of monthly rental income will be in excess of 10,000 euros but Propertymark will share guidance as soon as information is received from HMRC.

Propertymark’s webinar on 22 October, titled ‘Undertaking Effective Anti-Money Laundering Customer Due Diligence’ will provide the knowledge needed to ensure compliance with Money Laundering Regulations and the Proceeds of Crime Act

Register

Referral fees

In February 2019 the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSEALT) published guidance on referral fees and the transparency to consumers. With the NTSEALT monitoring the marketing over 12 months the reminder that there are only a few more months to make sure everyone is disclosing their referral fees so they don’t go down the same route as the tenant fees ban.

Referral fees

Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA)

Confirmation was, again, given that the report from the RoPA Working Group to Government outlined it will be for all estate agents across the UK and letting agents in England only. With Welsh letting agents already regulated by Rent Smart Wales. However, the criteria to the industry will be very much based on Propertymark membership requirements – having client money protection (CMP), professional indemnity and the necessary annual continuing professional development. Encouragement to everyone to get ahead of the game to join Propertymark and make sure they are qualified to the levels stipulated in the Report.

The million-dollar question of ‘when’ mingled through the conference. David Cox alluded to a crystal ball; however, an expected government announcement should be in the not too distance future – with the Government having a few higher priorities and all other legislation being pushed to the side. The actual legislation may not come into force for a few years, however, the message was of incentives for those that are ready early, strongly urging everyone to get qualified.

Landlords aren’t in the equation currently, even though Wales is currently regulated by Rent Smart Wales – there are no plans to make any changes to the regulations in Wales. Initially, the regulation will start with agents, getting that process working and then move onto landlords.

Regulation of Property Agents

Consultation on no-fault evictions

With about 70% of delegates undertaking lettings, only 10% responded to the Welsh Government consultation to extend the notice period from 2 months to 6 months. Everyone in Wales is very much in limbo and it couldn’t be stressed enough to write to the minister and local AMs, explaining why you do not want to see Section 173 increased to 6 months, giving case studies, explaining the problems, making them understand that it’s not just a tool to evict. 

Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA)

Now in existence for over 2 years, the WRA Chief Executive, Dyfed Alsop, outlined their approach of a Welsh way of doing tax and a reminder that agents are dealing with the WRA, not HMRC to collect LTT tax. The WRA has an online calculator to help people pay the right amount of tax and other resources will available soon. Alex Hutter, Senior Land Transaction Specialist, made tax an interesting topic, engaging with everyone in a humourous fashion to explain what the Land Transaction Higher Rate of Tax is and the rules for entities buying dwellings.

Welsh Revenue Authority

Support and encouragement for individuals

Tony Piccarillo, a trainer, conveyancing solicitor and motivational speaker enthused the delegates about setting goals to win in life and business. Small things over time can make a massive difference as well as making people realise they are special and to encourage everyone to take action to reach their goals.

Cardiff MIND's, Rob Withey, outlined that 1 in 4 people at some point in their life will develop a mental health issue, the risks to business and ways to encourage training and talking to support employees was paramount in his presentation. MIND supports the NHS, providing a pathway to recovery and an overriding message that asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

Propertymark provides an app for members which, amongst a raft of benefits includes a health and wellbeing advice line for anyone feeling stressed, which has access to a 24/hr counselling service with confidential advice and support.

Propertymark Connect

PropTech

Simon Whale of Kerfuffle helped the audience realise that making sense of all the proptech companies out there is difficult and time-consuming. Kerfuffle is an unrivalled a-z guide of suppliers with both expert and peer reviews.

Economic climate

Ian Derrick from The Bank of England outlined how they interact with businesses in Wales and the latest forecast on the global and UK economy, the public's commitment to buying and renting and that a no-deal Brexit will be bad for the economy. Ian stated too they are always looking for agents to communicate with to share their data. 

Propertymark Regional Conferences

There are still a few dates left in 2019 for everyone to hear legislative updates and pose individual questions. 

View dates