Clause 21 amends section 135 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016. It makes enforcement of the requirement for letting agents to belong to a client money protection scheme the responsibility of trading standards authorities. That has the effect in non-unitary authorities of moving the enforcement responsibility from district councils to county councils. Trading standards are best placed to enforce this provision due to their role in enforcing other legislation relating to letting agents. The change will ensure better alignment between enforcement of the provisions of the Tenant Fees Bill and client money protection.
In November to December last year, the Government consulted on the implementation of client money protection. I am pleased to say that the majority of the respondents—74%—agreed that enforcement responsibility should sit with trading standards rather than district councils, given their skills and experience. To ensure joined-up enforcement of relevant letting agent legislation, I beg to move that clause 21 stands part of the Bill.