Cleaning up that act
Anything that means estate agents will be better regulated can’t be a bad thing in my eyes – as I’m still smarting over my recent unpleasant experience with one – so news that all agents in the UK must register with a new anti-money laundering system is being welcomed by many…
[UKPRwire, Thu Jul 16 2009] Anything that means estate agents will be better regulated can’t be a bad thing in my eyes – as I’m still smarting over my recent unpleasant experience with one – so news that all agents in the UK must register with a new anti-money laundering system is being welcomed by many…
The new service, which is linked to December 2007’s Money Laundering Regulations, will launch on the last day of this month.
Membership will be compulsory as of the end of January 2010, so UK real estate agents may as well join up straightaway.
The registration process will take around 45 days, so The Office of Fair Trading is advising agents to join the register on the 31st July so as to avoid the mad rush at the end of the year.
Any agents who have not registered by the end of January 2010 will then be operating illegally – so failure to register could result in a hefty fine or even a jail term.
Agents will have to pay £115 per office, capped at £2,300 for a firm with 20 or more branches. There will be an annual fee payable after that, although the actual amount has yet to be decided.
The Money Laundering Regulations also apply to buyers’ agents and relocation agents.
Although in the majority of cases the new rules do not apply to letting agents, there will be some exceptions.
If the rental has a value on the open market – which means it can be resold - this may be classed as an estate agency service and in that case a lettings agent will need to register with the new service.
If a letting agent deals in premium leases where companies 'purchase' leases for a short period of time on behalf of their employees, then they too will need to register.
Money laundering regulations will also apply to letting agents who accept double instructions where the landlord/seller instructs them to market the UK property for sale or for rent.
The Money Laundering Regulations of 2007 require agents to have effective policies and procedures in place to prevent their services being used for money laundering and terrorist financing purposes. All agents must do the following:
Customer due diligence measures and ongoing monitoring
Reporting of suspicious transactions
Risk assessment and management
The monitoring and management of compliance
For more information on properties in the UK and the market in general, please visit http://www.themovechannel.co.uk/
Notes to editors:
TheMoveChannel.com is a property website that was founded in 1999 as an online resource for buying, selling and learning about property. It now receives as many as 300,000 visits per month and advertises over 50,000 properties in nearly 90 countries, which are listed by over 500 partner organisations.
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