Consultation on Money Laundering Regulations 2017- What could it mean for Estate Agents?

The Government has launched a consultation on the draft Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds regulations 2017. These will replace the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.  

The consultation is covering a wide range of measures aimed at preventing money laundering, but what will it mean for estate agents?

The current Money Laundering Regulations apply to estate agency work such as commercial and residential estate agency services, the new regulations will not change this.

The 2017 regulations have been used to clarify who estate agents need to carry out customer due diligence on.

What is included in carrying out customer due diligence?

  • Obtaining the customer’s name
  • Photograph on an official document which confirms their identity
  • Residential address and date of birth

The best way to do this is to ask for a Government issued document like a passport, along with utility bills, bank statements and other official documents. Other sources of customer information include the electoral register and information held by credit reference agencies such as Experian and Equifax.

Who does Customer Due Diligence need to be Carried out on?

As estate agents tend to act only for one party, it is normal for the agent to only carry out checks on one of the parties in the transaction normally the seller. The Government has received comments that this is a weakness in the current regulations.

Therefore the new regulations clarify that estate agents will have to carry out customer due diligence on buyers, not just the seller for whom they are acting. This is following comments that estate agents are well-positioned to act as ‘’gatekeepers’’ for both parties and they encounter the buyer at an early stage in the transaction.

Attwells lawyers attend training provided by the National Federation of Property Professionals and approved by both the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) so you can rest assured the advice you receive is specific, up to date and entirely in sync with the industry in which you operate.

Our estate agent clients value our expert commercial advice delivered with a can do attitude. We can help you to avoid problems and, in the event that they should arise, resolve problems quickly and in particular we can help you with:

  • Data Protection - policies, subject access requests and understanding disclosure obligations.
  • Understanding your obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations.
  • The preparation of robust terms and conditions that will give you the commercial advantage.
  • Understanding your obligations in relation to compliance with the Estate Agents Act 1979.
  • Viewings and advertising a property to the public – what you can and cannot say or disclose.
  • How to deal with a property that may have been mis-described.          
  • Commission disputes – both with vendors and competing agents.
  • Advice on the regulations concerning for sale and to let boards and their size, placement and number.
  • Commercial and regulatory advice in relation to setting up and operating an estate agency.
  • Compliance with the Bribery Act.
  • Complaints handling and advertising standards.
  • Consumer rights.

Our offer is to provide you with a unique one-stop shop for any legal issues that you might encounter in the conduct of your business, providing you with the support that you need to operate confidently and to grow your business.  

To find out more about Estate Agency Law contact Lisa Nyland for a confidential chat.