East London Letting Agent fined thousands in court

A judge has ordered a Dagenham Letting Agent to pay a fine of £3,000 after it failed to sign up to a Client Money Protection Scheme (CMP).

Following investigation by Barking and Dagenham Council’s Trading Standards Team they discovered that V&A Ventures Ltd T/A Prime Circle Properties were not signed up to the scheme and imposed a financial Penalty Notice of £15,000 on 28 March 2023.

It is a legal requirement for any business that operates as letting agents or property managers to belong to a CMP scheme.

The agent, which is based at The Hubb Business Centre on Rainham Road South, initially appealed to the First-tier Tribunal on Wednesday 16 January to get the financial penalty squashed due to financial difficulties.

The judge agreed that the Penalty Notice was lawful, however reduced it to £3,000 following financial representations from the company.

Councillor Syed Ghani, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: “We completely understand that times are hard for everyone but for businesses to be operating in our borough, they must follow the regulations in place.

“They would have been given the relevant advice by our officers in the past about this, so would have known they needed a Client Money Protection Scheme to run their business. Hopefully they have learnt their lesson, and we will continue to support them.”

There are six government-approved CMP schemes: UKALA, Property Mark, Money Shield, Safeagent, Client Money Protect, and RICS. Not being part of a scheme can make you liable for a financial penalty of up to £30,000.