HMRC finally opens AML online registration system for letting agents

HMRC’s online application system for Letting Agents to register for anti-money laundering supervision is now open.

HMRC had reported that an IT system update had held back the initial introduction of the system, but, with the system now live, Letting Agents MUST now apply for registration by 10 January 2021. It is a criminal offence to trade as a Letting Agency Business or Estate Agency Business without being registered with HMRC for money laundering supervision.

The rules apply to Letting Agents that rent out property (commercial or residential) for one month or more and at a rent which, during at least part of the term, is equivalent to or greater than a monthly rent of EUR 10,000. as in scope all leases, licences, tenancies at will, concession agreements and other rights of occupation which meet the financial threshold.

Agents are required to perform the following obligations under the AML regulations:
• conduct and document an AML risk assessment for the business;
• have in place written policies, controls and procedures with regular reviews and audits;
• designate a “Nominated Officer” who has the responsibility to report suspicious activity to the National Crime Agency;
• conduct record keeping;
• ensure that staff undertake AML training; and
• conduct customer due diligence on both the customer and the counterparty (on rents which exceed the EUR 10,000 threshold)

What does the opening of the online system mean for your business?

• All Letting Agents in the UK who meet the definition of letting agency must register with HMRC and follow the AML regulations.
• Estate Agents who are already registered with HMRC but undertake activity as Letting Agents will need to update their registration to include this additional activity.
• Estate Agents that have not yet registered must do so as soon as possible. There are fines for late registration – with the longer the wait, the worse the penalty.

Compliance On Demand is assisting relevant businesses with the HMRC registration and update process as well as overall compliance with AML responsibilities.

Published on June 16, 2020