Compliance monitoring and website checks are a vital part of Propertymark’s procedures as they help to ensure the highest standards as well as support members in a tangible and reliable way.
Despite this being one of the most important member benefits, the Compliance Team often encounter challenges with agencies feeling singled out when monitoring activities are carried out. Enforcement agencies, such as Trading Standards teams based at local authorities, are conducting similar web-based checks, and their findings most often result in significant fines.
Essential to the credibility of Propertymark Protection, agents must always be aware of the potential for Trading Standards to do spot checks, which could result in fines up to £20,000.
Common mistakes are often down to forgetting that important and legally required information must be readily available and accessible on agents’ websites, including:
- Displaying client money protection certificates
- Publishing the correct legal name, not the trading name, plus the registered address and registration number
- Displaying a list of permitted fees to tenants
- Agency fees should be published in VAT inclusive figures
At the beginning of 2021, Propertymark wrote to one a member to flag that their anti-money laundering registration had lapsed. Initially, they questioned why they were singled out, but soon afterwards HMRC released details of businesses that had been identified as non-compliant and received fines, making it apparent that checks are in place to help our members.
We have created a number of resources, forms and training options for agents and auctioneers to comply with their Anti-Money Laundering obligations.
Code of Practice
Propertymark members sign up to a Code of Practice with a set of rules agreed by their peers, and Principals, Partners, and Directors (PPDs) sign an annual declaration form re-stating details of businesses and branches within their responsibility. This is essential in maintaining standards embodied by the Propertymark Protected logo, which is widely recognised by consumers, and repeatedly cited as a key member benefit.
Most members are keen to address issues highlighted and welcome the checks. However, there is sometimes the need to elevate a serious transgression in the form of an internal sanction and for the most serious cases, progress to a disciplinary tribunal. These aren’t taken lightly, and this type of case is minimal with due diligence carried out and evidence produced to demonstrate a case.
We promote higher professional standards and the law demands. Propertymark members voluntarily commit to providing exceptional service and to ensure they are at the forefront of the industry.