Latest News

Housing market continues to thrive following lockdown

29 July 2020

Propertymark's June Housing Market Report shows that one in 10 properties (10 per cent) sold for more than the original asking price as buyers compete for the successful bid on their dream home, which is the highest recorded since February 2016 where 11 per cent sold for more. Read More...

Guidance released for re-opening of housing market in Wales

28 July 2020

Today, 28 July, the Welsh Government has released guidance for the property sector and has updated its amendments to the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations in light of the re-opening of the housing market from 27 July. Read More...

HM Land Registry to accept electronic signatures

27 July 2020

Today, Monday 27 July, the transfers of ownership of property, leases, mortgages, and other property dealings can now be signed electronically, making it simpler and faster for people to move home. Read More...

Welsh Housing market to re-open fully from Monday 27 July 2020

24 July 2020

Today, 24 July, the Welsh Government confirmed that the housing market will fully reopen on Monday 27 July 2020. Read More...

Tougher security laws considered after Russia report

24 July 2020

Whilst the property industry isn’t consistently regulated across the UK, agents do have to abide by many rules including those on anti-money laundering. The Russia Report, issued on 21 July, shows the continued threat of illicit financial activity and Ministers are considering strengthening legislation. Read More...

Agents need masks when dealing with visitors to branches

23 July 2020

As the public will have to wear masks when entering a shop from 24 July, Propertymark can confirm, that in line with our best practice guidance, it won't be necessary for estate and letting agents' staff to wear a face covering whilst in the office with the same group of people and social distancing except when dealing with visitors. Read More...

NCA calls for changes in light of the Russia report

23 July 2020

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament issued their report on 21 July on Russia, highlighting the problems estate agents are faced with in combatting financial crime activity in property markets. Read More...

Two per cent stamp duty surcharge for non-UK residents announced

23 July 2020

Following a six-month consultation, the Government has introduced draft legislation on all properties purchased by anyone who isn’t a UK resident. Read More...

Changes to Money Laundering Regulations for Sales Agents

Friday 10 January 2020

The Money Laundering Regulations 2019 has passed into UK law, affecting both the sales and lettings sector.

Changes for sales agents include requirements for additional ownership checks and Enhanced Due Diligence.

Letting agents which rent our property valued at 10,000 euros or more for a minimum of one month, including both residential and commercial property, are now subject to the anti-money laundering regulations.  

All new regulations must be complied with from 10 January 2020. Guidance from the Government is expected very soon. 

Beneficial Owners regulations

There is a new requirement for agents to check beneficial ownership registers before establishing a business relationship with anyone in the ownership and control structure of their customers. Agents must report to Companies House any discrepancies between what they find in their Customer Due Diligence research and what is listed on beneficial ownership registers. 

Where the beneficial owner of a company cannot be identified, estate and regulated letting agents must take steps to verify the identity of senior managing officials.

Customer risk factors and Enhanced Due Diligence 

Property agents must now carry out Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) where there is an unusual pattern of transactions, or the transaction has no apparent economic or legal purpose - not just on transactions that are complex or unusually large. 

Where there is a business relationship or transaction with a landlord or tenant from a high-risk third country, agents must now also carry out EDD and obtain additional information on:

  • The customer and customer’s beneficial owner.
  • The intended nature of the business relationship.
  • The source of funds and wealth of the customer and of the customer’s beneficial owner.
  • The reasons for the transaction.

Property agents must obtain the approval of senior management for establishing or continuing any business relationship or transaction with a landlord or tenant from a high-risk third country. 

Agents must also conduct enhanced monitoring of the business relationship, by increasing the number of controls applied and selecting patterns of transactions that need further examination.

Electronic ID methods

The regulations state that electronic identification processes are permitted where these are:

  • Independent of the person whose identity is being verified
  • secure from fraud or misuse
  • capable of providing an appropriate level of assurance that the person being checked is who they say they are.  

Sales agents who also carry out lettings

Sales agents who also carry out lettings (that will fall in the scope of the new regulations) and are already registered with HMRC, will need to inform HMRC that they carry out lettings activity. An online process to do this will be up and running in May 2020. All agents will need to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations from 10 January 2020. 

Further information regarding the changes for letting agents can be read on the ARLA Propertymark website

Quote mark

The new regulations introduced tomorrow create a level playing field in the sales and auctions market and we welcome this. The regulations have also been expanded to include the letting agency sector for high-value transactions with a monthly rent of 10,000 euros. Those letting agents who fall within the scope of regulated businesses and manage tenancies that meet the threshold will need to register for anti-money laundering (AML) supervision. Despite the HMRC’s online register not being operational until May 2020, letting agents will need to comply with the regulations from 10th January 2020 and if they’re found to be non-compliant with the regulation’s agents may face civil penalties or criminal prosecution.


However, irrespective of whether agents fall under the definition of regulated businesses with HMRC for AML supervision, Propertymark recommends it’s best practice for all letting agents to carry out Customer Due Diligence (CDD) on all their customers.

Mark Hayward

Mark Hayward
NAEA Propertymark Chief Executive 

AML GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT

Read a series of FAQs on the new regulations.

FAQs  

A recording of the 10 January webinar on the Fifth Money Laundering Directive and what the changes will mean for the property sector is now available.

Webinar  

Propertymark has courses and resources to help agents understand and meet their AML obligations.

AML Courses  

Estate agencies who also handle lettings are encouraged to make sure that both sides of their business are Propertymark Protected by having both NAEA Propertymark and ARLA Propertymark membership. 

Membership