Just one week for agents to comment on compulsory Client Money Protection debate
Letting agents have just a week left to add their voice to the debate on whether mandatory Client Money Protection (CMP) should be introduced as the government’s outstanding six-week consultation closes a week today on October 3.
CMP schemes protect client funds held by letting agents, providing landlords and tenants with the opportunity to recover their money in the event it goes missing.
The consultation has been supported by a number of industry bodies, including ARLA, amongst other governing bodies. Key-Data gold complies with ARLA regulations in very many areas, as follows:-
• The ARLA Code requires that your landlord and tenant information complies with the Data Protection Act 1998. The Key-Data Gold software requires a unique user name and password in order to access the data.
• The ARLA Code also requires that the agent makes the necessary checks to ensure they comply with money laundering regulations. Key-Data Gold will keep reminding you to enter the appropriate ID information until you have done so.
• When providing a market appraisal, you are required to write to the landlord confirming your appraisal with evidence as to how that valuation has been reached. Once your portfolio of properties has been comprised, Key-Data Gold retains the information of each property previously recorded, ideal for providing comparison. Furthermore, there are a number of letter templates, which are fully editable, confirming your appraisal and Terms.
• The ARLA Code requires that any property Board should be removed, within 14 days, from a property that has been let, or where the agent is no longer instructed. Key-Data Gold has a full Board Management system, ensuring that you keep track of all your boards.
• The ARLA Code requires that all viewing feedback is provided to the landlord. The Key-Data Gold Office Diary module contains a full Viewing function, enabling the viewing to be made and feedback reported.
• The ARLA Code requires that, prior to any offer being accepted, the terms of the letting must be confirmed in writing. Key-Data Gold enables the production of a Pre-Tenancy Agreement, setting out the proposed terms of the let.
• The ARLA Code requires that appropriate references are taken up on any proposed tenant. Key-Data Gold contains a number of reference letters that are fully editable by the agent to incorporate their own wording.
• The ARLA Code requires that an appropriate Tenancy Agreement document is provided for clarify of the terms of the let. Key-Data Gold provides a template, editable by the agent, to include his or her own special terms and conditions.
• The ARLA Code requires that an appropriate inventory of the property is taken. Key-Data Gold has the facility to record all inventory details.
• The ARLA Code requires that the Tenant’s deposit is properly handled, in line with the Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Key-Data Gold has the facility to confirm whether the insurance scheme or the custodial scheme is in operation and the deposit is dealt with accordingly.
• The ARLA Code requires that a member firm must use reasonable endeavours to induce prompt rental payments from tenants, and take reasonable steps to notify both client and tenant of a rent that has become appreciably overdue. Key-Data Gold will show all due and overdue rents with the facility to write the appropriate rent reminder letters, both to tenant or guarantor, with a copy to the landlord. The tenant rent book on the system will also show all and any outstanding amounts with total arrears clearly shown.
• The ARLA Code requires that, where applicable, overseas tax is deducted from an overseas landlord. Key-Data Gold ensures that tax is deducted on all overseas landlords, where an exemption certificate does not exist. That tax is held until it either has to be paid over to the Inland Revenue, or indeed can be refunded to the landlord where a backdated exemption certificate is received. Full reporting on overseas landlords is also available.
• The ARLA Code requires that the agent keeps a record of all repairs and maintenance work undertaken on a property. Key-Data Gold has a full Service Call Centre, where all works are recorded and once completed added to the property history, therefore ensuring that all required works are carried out in a timely manner, and the history of previous works retained.
• The ARLA Code requires that estimates for any proposed works are submitted. There is the facility to record estimates and produce a report of all estimates to the landlord.
• The ARLA Code requires that a record of any visits made with any significant findings of defects are recorded. Key-Data Gold will remind when a regular property inspection is due, and once the inspection has been carried out the details are recorded and past inspections retained on the system.
• The ARLA Code requires that, where applicable, the appropriate notice should be served upon the tenant to vacate the premises. The Key-Data Gold scheduler will produce a reminder to serve the letter of tenancy renewal, together with the appropriate notice, at least two months prior to the tenancy end date.
• The ARLA Code requires that client money is held in a specifically designated Client Account. All monies in are show in Key-Data Gold as a credit to client account, unless preferences are set to receive certain funds directly into office account.
• The ARLA Code requires that the landlord is provided with regular statement of accounts. Key-Data Gold produces a landlord statement whenever a rent is received, together with a breakdown of any costs to be deducted. That information is then retained by way of the landlord ledgers. The ARLA Code requires that, except in emergency, that no fees, costs or repairs are deducted where the appropriate funds are not yet available. There is a preference setting in the system which ensures that contractors are paid from office account, rather than client account, therefore ensuring that client funds are not used when unavailable. There is also a setting to not allow landlords to enter into arrears.