What are they and how do they work?
What is a client account?
An estate agency holding or receiving client money, keeps a designated client account.
A “client account” is an agency’s account kept at a bank or building society for the sole purpose of holding clients’ money.
The client account of a business is in the name of that businesses company and contains the word “client” or “clients” e.g. “Jeremy Boyd Estate Agency Limited Clients Account.”
What types are there?
There are two types of client account:
(i) a “separate designated client account”, which is an account for money relating to a single client; and
(ii) a “general client account”, which is any other client account.
Most agencies will operate a general client account.
How do they operate?
Money held in a client account is for the sole account of that particular client and must be immediately available to that client on demand.
Use of a client account
Client money received by an agency is paid into the client account, and is held there at all times.
Client money must be returned to the client promptly, as soon as there is no longer any proper reason to retain those funds. Payments received after the client is accounted to, for example by way of a refund, must be paid to the client promptly.
Clients are informed in writing of the amount of any client money retained at the end of a transaction and the reason for that retention.
Banking facilities are not provided through a client account. Payments into, and transfers or withdrawals from, a client account are in respect of instructions relating to a particular transaction, or to a service forming part of the businesses normal activities.