Anti-Money Laundering Checklist for Estate Agents

4 Mins

Buying and selling property is widely acknowledged as a high-risk area for money laundering.

Estate Agents are a prime target for money laundering and financial crime, not to mention a prime target for HMRC when it comes to spotting checks and fines for AML non-compliance.

With all the recent changes to money laundering legislation, we’ve put together a summary of the things you need to put in place to help ensure compliance.

Here’s our 5-point checklist for keeping your business protected.

Chapter 1

Register with HM Revenue and Customs for anti-money laundering supervision

Letting agents based in the UK who meet the definition of letting agency activity and the rent threshold (equivalent to or more than 10,000 euros per month for the duration of at least one month) must register with HMRC and follow the anti-money laundering regulations.

It is a criminal offence to trade as a letting agency or an estate agency business within the regulated sector without being registered with HMRC for money laundering supervision. Employers are responsible for registering and complying with the regulations and employees who carry out relevant work are not individually supervised by HMRC. 

Some of the types of Real Estate & Property businesses that must register are:

  • High street residential estate agencies and letting agencies.
  • Commercial estate agencies and letting agencies.
  • Online estate agencies and letting agencies.
  • Property or land auctioneers.
  • Land agents.
  • Relocation agents, property finders, private acquisitions specialists.
  • Social housing associations that offer estate agency or letting agency services.
Chapter 1

Check that your buyers and sellers are who they say they are

The Money Laundering Regulations require Real Estate & Property agents to risk assess their business relationships and apply an appropriate level of investigation to ensure that they understand who their customer is, and why they are involved in the transaction. In order to verify buyers and seller’s identity, you’ll need to obtain:                            

Their Name.

A photograph on an official document which confirms their identity.

Their residential address or date of birth (usually covered by a passport or Driving Licence plus a current utility bill or bank statement).

While this can be a time-consuming process that can take time away from your business, there are a number of solutions on the market that can help you avoid manually checking documents. Electronic verification can take the stress and worry away, enabling you to run robust and reliable AML checks in a matter of seconds. 

Onboarding a business or an individual?

Speed up and simplify your onboarding process with the most comprehensive, real-time data to help protect your business. You'll benefit from business and consumer credit information, anti-money laundering checks, ID verification, PEPs & Sanctions lists all in a single platform designed to help comply with regulatory requirements. 

Chapter 1

Create a policy statement for your business

A policy statement is a document that includes your anti-money laundering policy, controls, and the procedures your business will take to prevent money laundering. This can also help with onboarding new employees to make sure they know the process for identifying and verifying customers. This should detail:

Your anti-money laundering policy and procedures – including naming relevant individuals and their responsibilities.

Your procedures on a risk-based approach for identifying and verifying customers.

Your commitment to training employees so they’re aware of their responsibilities and the need to promptly report suspicious activity to the nominated officer.

A summary of the monitoring controls that are in place.

Chapter 1

Appoint a Money Laundering Reporting Officer

The UK’s Money Laundering Regulations 2007 highlights that all businesses within the regulated financial services sector are required to appoint a Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO).

The MLRO – sometimes referred to as a ‘nominated officer’ – provides oversight for their firm’s anti-money laundering (AML) systems and acts as a focal point for related inquiries. Not only is having a Money Laundering Reporting Officer a legal requirement, it can also help with:

Having a “nominated officer” for employees to report suspicious activity to.

Identifying the responsibilities of senior managers and providing them with regular information on money laundering risks.

Training relevant employees regularly on their anti-money laundering responsibilities and keep accurate records.

Documenting your anti-money laundering policies and procedures.

Chapter 1

Keep Records

It is essential that you keep comprehensive records of all your customer due diligence measures that you carry. Records need to be kept for five years and stored in a secure location. If you have more than one office, annual audits of your additional branches will need to be carried out and recorded. Some of the records you should include:

Risk assessments.

Your policies, controls, and procedures.

Training records.

Chapter 1

Why use Creditsafe for online Anti-Money Laundering checks?

With your business' compliance and efficiency at the heart of what we do, Creditsafe's Anti-Money Laundering solutions offer enhanced checks that deliver an answer in seconds.

Paperless audit trail

Reduce costs associated with physical storage, whilst ensuring you are exhibiting good governance with a paperless audit trail stored in a secure environment. We store a paperless audit trail for 5 years in a highly secure environment to evidence your compliance, whilst protecting your clients' personal data.

Comprehensive screening

We screen against global PEPs and Sanction databases as standard, helping you to always stay compliant whilst reducing your own company’s exposure to risk.

Bank data verification

You can also enrich and enhance your KYC checks by verifying customer bank data via UK bank records, with access to more bank information than any other UK provider.

The content on this page is provided for general information only and is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content on this page.

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