Government Guidance Published for Letting Agents
The Government has now published its updated Estate and letting agency business guidance for money laundering supervision.
Letting agents dealing with high value lets (where the tenancy is for at least a month, and for rent of (for at least part of the term) equivalent to 10,000 euros or more a month), were treated as being regulated agents from 10 January 2020 and subject to money laundering regulations. The Government has now updated its guidance for estate agents to include those letting agents which are also caught by the anti-money laundering regulations.
The updated guidance clarifies when agents must carry out due diligence on prospective tenants. A regulated letting agency business must carry out due diligence on prospective tenants when they enter into a business relationship with the prospective tenant, which is at the point at which the tenant’s offer is accepted. It must be done before the tenancy agreement is confirmed. The Lettings Agency Anti-Money Laundering Policy and Commercial Property Lettings Agency Anti-Money Laundering Policy have been updated.
Letting agents should carry out due diligence before a renewal of the tenancy agreement (but not where a tenancy automatically becomes periodic).
Agents should familiarise themselves with the updated guidance and take the necessary steps to ensure that they are complying with the anti-money laundering legislation. 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 these regulations.
The anti-money laundering templates are an EXAMPLE ONLY and are intended to be a starting point for you to implement the requirements set out in the legislation and guidance. You must tailor the templates to suit your own business. These templates must be read alongside the relevant money laundering regulations and specific HM Revenue and Customs guidance.
If you are unsure how to edit or adapt these templates in accordance with the relevant legislation and guidance, professional advice should be sought.
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.