Money Laundering Supervision for Estate Agents

Oct 21st '17

New Money Laundering Regulations 2017 … Are You Registered?


Who must register

You must register with HMRC if your business carries out any activity defined as estate agency work.


This includes things like:


  • sending out property details and arranging viewings
  • offering personal advice to potential sellers or buyers
  • answering questions from potential sellers or buyers
  • passing on details to customers


Businesses that must register include:


  • high street residential estate agencies
  • commercial estate agencies
  • property or land auctioneers
  • land agents
    relocation agents, property finders, private acquisitions specialists
  • business brokers or transfer agents brokering the sales or transfer of client businesses to third parties
  • a solicitor’s property centre in Scotland


You don’t need to register if you’re:


  • a lettings agent only carrying out lettings work
  • an auctioneer already registered with HMRC as a high value dealer
  • publishing adverts or distributing information, for example in a newspaper
  • an intermediary, like an internet property portal for private sales, allowing private sellers to advertise their properties and letting sellers and buyers to contact each other (but only if you do nothing else covered by the general definition of estateagency work)
  • a solicitor carrying on estate agency work as part of that practice as a solicitor, and not as a separate businessAn estate agency business may be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for another purpose, for example because they provide consumer finance or hire purchase services. In this situation HMRC and the FCA will consider the possibility of a single supervisor overseeing the anti-money laundering arrangements. Supervision for individual businesses will be looked at on a case by case basis.
  • If you’re an appointed representative of a business that’s authorised by the FCA, then the FCA won’t be your supervisor and you must register with HMRC.


Additional guidance


HMRC has published guidance for estate agency businesses on how to comply with their obligations under the money laundering regulations and related legislation.


The guidance explains what businesses must do to protect themselves from the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing and how to report suspicious activity.


What happens if you don’t register


You may receive a penalty if you don’t register a relevant business. This includes carrying on business as an estate agent:


  • without being registered
  • after your registration has been cancelled


The amount of the penalty will depend on each individual case. They will take into consideration:


  • whether you told HMRC that you’re not registered or HMRC has discovered it
  • your reasons for not registering
  • whether you have had any previous warning or penalties
  • They may also take other factors into consideration.


When and how to register


You must register with HMRC before carrying on any activity as an estate agency business and pay the necessary fees. Apply to register with HMRC.


Annual renewal


At the end of each registration period we’ll send you a renewal notice inviting you to renew your registration by paying the annual fee on all your listed premises. If you don’t need your registration to continue then you should notify HMRC.


If you don’t pay the correct renewal fee then HMRC may terminate your registration and remove your business from its anti-money laundering register.


Don’t Forget: Firms must have established risk and control self-assessment procedures in place.


We can help provide you with the tools you need to implement, train and embed the new rules, and we can move quickly, getting your firm and your people up to speed in a short space of time, including training and awareness. Explore how.


Contact us