The Company understands the need to preserve the security of ‘clients’ money which is entrusted to its care during the course of its regular ongoing business.
The Company maintains membership of and conforms to The Property Ombudsman Codes of Practices, the Redress System, The Client Money Protection Schemes for Property Agents (Approved and Designation of Schemes) Regulations 2018 including all amendments which may occur from time to time.
A Client is a member of the public who is a client of the Company; ‘public’ includes and individual person, company, trust, body, corporate or organisation.
The Company seeks to safeguard clients’ money through clearly identifiable records, in order to protect these funds on the clients’ behalf at all times, particularly where the following may be relevant.
- Transfer’s to other organisations of client money
Where clients’ money has been misappropriated the Company will advise the client and where appropriate the police and insurers.
Donations to Charity
In the event that DOMVS receives surplus client money in a client account, we follow best practice and enact the following procedures:
- Ensure that all efforts are made to trace the clients or owners of the money;
- Hold the surplus money in a client expenses account; and
- Hold surplus money for at least six years
If, after six years, the client or owner of the money has not been found and no true claimant to the money has come forward it may be donated to a registered charity.
- All employees have clear segregation of duties and responsibilities and that a Principal or appropriate individual oversees the client accounting function.
- The Company employs knowledgeable and competent staff responsible for processing clients’ money and who are familiar with Client Accounting rules.
- The Company maintains accounting systems and client data that are securely controlled and protected.
- Computer systems are adequately protected for access, firewalls, back-ups and disaster recovery.
- There is adequate cover for holiday and long-term absence.
- Principals cannot and do not override controls surrounding the accounting system.
- All areas of the business apply the same level of controls in relation to the client accounting function.
Client Bank Accounts
- Our clients’ money is held in one or more client bank accounts separate from all other monies and that client money is available on demand.
- The bank accounts are correctly titled to include the name of the Company and the word “client” to distinguish the account from an office or other account.
- We have obtained written consent if the Company is to retain interest.
Client Accounting Systems and Controls
- Accounting records and systems are appropriate to the nature and volumes of client account transactions.
- Systems provide details of all money received into and paid from all client accounts and show a running balance of all client money held in that account.
- Systems identify all receipts and payments to the client to which they relate; for example by means of client ledgers showing cash balances held on behalf of clients at all times.
- Accounting records are completed chronologically and promptly.
- The current balances at the total and client levels are always available.
- All ledgers have the client name and an appropriate description, e.g. the property address;
- Overdrawn balances on client ledgers are prevented by the systems or controls in place and where they do occur are investigated and rectified immediately.
- Adequate controls are in place over unidentified client money to ensure that such funds are kept securely. The client should be located and reimbursed as soon as possible. Such funds held for more than six years may be donated to a registered charity;
- A central list of client bank accounts is maintained including dates of opening and closing of accounts;
- A reconciliation is completed at least once every month where clients’ money is held in a general client account. This is produced as a formal statement, and any unresolved differences or adjustments are fully investigated and explained.
- Reconciliations are reviewed and signed off by a Principal or an appropriate independent senior member of staff.
- Client accounting records, including copies of reconciliations, are securely kept for at least six years plus the current year.
Controls Over Receipt of Client Money
- Only a Principal or appropriate staff independent of accounting staff open incoming post.
- Procedures exist to ensure all clients’ money is banked within three working days.
- All cash and cheques received by post or by hand are promptly recorded.
- A reconciliation is performed between money received by post and that day’s banking.
- Procedures exist to identify and distinguish between clients’ and office money.
- Mixed monies are initially paid into the client account and the office element paid in the office account when the receipt has cleared the bank.
- Fees received in advance for professional work not yet billed are paid into a client account pending completion of the work.
- Duplicate receipts are issued for cash received and controls over the physical security of cash are effective.
- Unbanked client money receipts are kept secure.
Controls Over the Payment of Client Money
- Checks are made to ensure that sufficient funds are held on behalf of the relevant client before payments are made.
- A copy of the bank mandate is held and is up to date.
- Adequate authorisation and supervision procedures are in place for payments made by cheque, bank transfer and electronic methods.
- All payment requests have supporting evidence and that documentation has been authorised in advance by a Principal or other appropriate person.
- Blank cheques are not signed, and unused cheques are kept securely.
- Effective controls are in place over the setting up of new supplier accounts on the system.
- Cash payments are avoided.