This Anti-Money Laundering Policy is designed for an estate agency business
dealing with commercial property to put in place a policy in order to make
staff aware of money laundering, prevent money laundering taking place and
assist staff if any money laundering activity is suspected. This document
is also available in the Residential Property Sales Terms and Conditions
Money laundering is the process of moving illegally acquired cash through
financial systems so that it appears to come from a legitimate source.
Criminals will try to conceal the origin and true ownership of the proceeds
of their activities in order to turn the money from “dirty” to “clean”.
Although estate agents don’t handle transaction monies, they are often the
first port of call in a property transaction and so they are best placed to
identify and verify the parties to a transaction and report any suspicious
activity at the outset of the transaction.
Estate agents are regulated by HMRC. A regulated business must comply with
The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds
(Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (‘the Regulations’) which
requires estate agents to have a written anti-money laundering policy in
place. A copy of the anti-money laundering policy must be given to all
staff. Staff must also receive anti-money laundering training. The
anti-money laundering policy should supplement staff training. This policy
should be reviewed regularly to ensure that it complies with HMRC guidance
and HMRC recommend this is done annually.
Estate agents are also required to put in place a number of controls and
procedures to anticipate and prevent their business being used by criminals
to launder money and fund terrorism. HMRC has a useful guide for estate
agents to ensure they are compliant with the Regulations. This guidance was
updated in May 2019 and can be found
At the time of writing letting agents do not have to comply with the
Regulations although this is due to change with the 5th Money
Laundering Directive (which must be implemented by EU member states by
January 2020) and is likely to be implemented by the UK even if the UK has
left the EU by then.
Although estate agents (that also carry out lettings work) currently do not
need to carry out anti-money laundering checks in respect of their lettings
work (unless the rent is paid up front in a one off transaction worth
15,000 euros or more) they will still need to report any suspicious
activity that they become aware of in their lettings work.
Failure to comply with the Regulations can result in civil penalties or
criminal prosecution. Senior managers and nominated officers can also be
found personally liable for a breach of the Regulations.
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