It is requirement for all member agents to be compliant with the TPO Codes of Practice. By displaying the blue logo you are providing the consumer with confidence that you are following all TPO guidelines.
By signing up to be a member agent you have signed up to be compliant with the TPO Code of Practice for Residential Estate Agents and/or the TPO Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents.
Within both Codes of Practice it states that you must comply with TPO compliance monitoring procedures. We continuously carry out audits on a random sample basis but may choose to audit members more regularly. The main aim of the audit is for TPO to provide guidance of any failings with the TPO Codes of Practice or legislation.
The key areas we will audit and require evidence / documentation are:
- Professional Indemnity Insurance Schedule
- Agency Agreements
- Internal Complaints Procedures
- Headed Paper
- Clients Account Bank Statements
- Money Laundering Registration
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme (Lettings Only)
- Proof of display of TPO Documentation / Window Sticker
- Client Money Protection (Not a TPO requirement but recommended)
Branches - You must ensure if you are a member of our scheme that all of your branches are registered with TPO. Displaying our logo on your websites / company documents could be misleading to the consumer if you have unregistered branches. If you are unsure if a branch is registered please login into renew/edit my details.
Professional Indemnity Insurance - Please ensure the limit of indemnity is no less than £100,000 and the excess is no more than £1000. If your excess is more than £1000 please ask your insurer to add TPO endorsement L1391 to your policy. If you are part of a firm of solicitors covered by PI insurance approved by the Law Society the endorsement is not necessary.
Agency Agreements - The following guidance notes are provided for agents to help ensure that their agency agreements meet the requirements of the TPO Codes of Practice and their obligations under the law. The guidance does not set out to determine what is legally acceptable but all agents should be aware of the need to avoid using any unfair terms (as defined by the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999) and to avoid misleading information/omissions or ambiguity which would go against the principles of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Headed Paper - The TPO blue and white logo needs to be displayed on your headed paper and marketing material. More details on business stationery can be found at Companies House.
Internal Complaints Procedure - All member agents are required to have an internal complaints procedure. For futher information please see guidance on complaints handling.
Money Laundering Registration - SALES AGENTS ONLY. The Money Laundering Regulations were introduced to ensure businesses at risk of being used for money laundering by criminals and terrorists have controls in place to minimise the risk of this happening. It’s an offence to trade as an estate agent unless you’re registered with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for anti money laundering supervision. Further information can be gained from. https://www.gov.uk/registration-guide-for-estate-agency-businesses
Client’s Bank Accounts - As per paragraph 17 of our Lettings Code of Practice you must keep clients’ money in a separate designated clients’ bank account and not in a current account, and the client should be advised of this. Even if you currently keep clients’ money in a separate bank account, it needs to be labelled as such. Under no circumstances should a clients’ account be used for office use. For audits we require a copy a client account statment or auditors report. Please see example.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme - It is a legal requirement for any tenancy deposit to be registered with an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This only applies to deposits taken under assured shorthold tenancies in England and Wales and Short Assured tenancies in Scotland.
CTSI Logo - TPO is the first and only property organisation to have its Codes of Practice approved by the Consumer Code Approval Scheme (CCAS), which is operated by The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). TPO member agents can find out more about how they can promote the benefits of following a CCAS approved Code in the CTSI Approved Code Guidelines 2017.