Lettings agents have been reminded that they may now need to register with HMRC for anti-money laundering (AML) supervision after a delayed IT system went live.
The Money Laundering Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019 came into force in January, introducing a rule that lettings agents whose landlords earn more than €10,000 a month per property must register with HMRC and conduct AML checks. But there have been delays in making the registration system operational.
ARLA Propertymark has issued guidance reminding agents that the system for registration is now live and eligible agents must comply by January 2021.
The guidance said: “Registration for UK letting agencies is now open with HMRC who are the supervisory body for the property sector.
“Despite the Money Laundering Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019 coming into force in January, due to an IT system update HMRC’s online register for letting agents has only just been made operational.
“All letting agents in the UK who meet the definition of letting agency activity and the rent threshold which is equivalent to or more than €10,000 per month for the duration of at least one month (per property, not per landlord), must register with HMRC and follow the anti-money laundering regulations.
“Estate agencies who are already registered with HMRC but undertake activity as a letting agency will need to inform them of this using the online application process.”
The note warned it will be a criminal offence to trade as a lettings or an estate agency business within the regulated sector without being registered with HMRC for money laundering supervision.
It said: “Employees of letting or estate agents who carry out relevant work are not individually supervised by HMRC.
“Employers are responsible for registering and complying with the regulations.
“Lettings agency businesses must ensure they have applied to HMRC for supervision before 10 January 2021 for approval under the new rules.”