Latest News

Winter weather precautions

20 January 2021

Propertymark Industry Supplier, Gallagher offers practical steps that can help agents and their clients reduce the risk of damage to property as areas of the nation are set to see further warnings of more inclement weather to come. Damage caused by the escape of water from frozen pipes and other equipment can be extremely costly in repairs and disruption. Read More...

Concerns raised over new energy efficiency proposals

20 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on Improving the Energy Performance of Privately Rented Homes in England and Wales by highlighting a number of concerns. These relate to affordability and the need to look beyond a one-size fits all policy and develop proposals that work with the different age, condition, and size of properties in the private rented sector. Read More...

Change smoke and carbon rules for earlier checks

19 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on extending the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations in England, arguing that the rules should be amended so that landlords and agents must make sure the alarms are tested prior to the start of the tenancy and not on the first day of each new tenancy. Read More...

Licensing schemes are irresponsible in the current climate

19 January 2021

Propertymark has responded to a number of licensing scheme proposals from local authorities across England in recent months arguing that Councils who are pursuing the implementation of licensing schemes are being socially irresponsible. This is because in these unprecedented times landlords and agents are not able to comply with the requirements and Council resources are unlikely to be able to effectively enforce them. Read More...

Propertymark pressure leads to improved guidance

Wednesday 09 September 2020

Propertymark has welcomed improved Joint Money Laundering Steering Group (JMLSG) guidance on pooled client accounts (PCAs) following our response to JMLSG’s review and sustained engagement with HM Treasury and UK Finance to make it easier for letting agents to meet their legal obligations.

In June, Propertymark responded to the JMLSG proposed draft guidance on Pooled Client Accounts and has engaged with a number of banks, industry bodies, and Government officials to highlight the fact that previous guidance did not coincide with legal requirements on letting agents for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and the Client Money Protection (CMP) regulations.

JMLSG is a private sector body that is made up of the leading UK Trade Associations in the financial services industry. It produces guidance to assist those in financial industry sectors represented on JMLSG to comply with their obligations in relation to the UK Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing legislation. The guidance is not legally binding but receives HM Treasury approval.

Why change was needed

Financial institutions need to be aware that under the Money Laundering Regulations the scope of regulated businesses in the property agency sector was expanded in January 2020 to only include the letting agency sector for high-value transactions with a monthly rent of 10,000 euros (or an equivalent amount) or more, whereas all letting agents in England, Wales and Scotland must adhere to Client Money Protection rules.

This is important because within the framework for Pooled Client Accounts, letting agents find it very difficult to open client accounts with no legal requirement for all letting agents to register with HMRC for Anti-Money Laundering Supervision. Consequently, this makes it very difficult for letting agents to adhere to the Client Money Protection rules.

Improved guidance

The revised 2020 guidance now acknowledges the distinction between the AML and CMP requirements for letting agents. This means that banks should be considering whether the customer is subject to the AML Regulations, and any other regulatory or professional conduct obligations such as client identification rules, professional conduct rules relating to dealing with funds in PCAs, or client money protection regulations.

Propertymark will continue to work with agents who encounter difficulties with banks in setting up client accounts, but the improved guidance should make it easier for letting agents to obtain PCAs going forward.

JMSLG Guidance

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This is a positive development and we are pleased that the guidance on Pooled Client Accounts has been updated in light of our calls for the banks to better recognise the legal requirements for letting agents.

We know that many agents have found it very difficult to open client accounts with no legal requirement for all letting agents to register with HMRC for Anti-Money Laundering Supervision. Consequently, this makes it very difficult for letting agents to adhere to the Client Money Protection rules.

With the legal requirements on letting agents being made clearer to banks, they should now be able to distinguish between the two sets of regulations whilst taking reasonable measures to establish and document the purpose of the Pooled Client Accounts.

Timothy Douglas

Timothy Douglas
Policy & Campaigns Manager