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Treasury will not regulate letting agents for money laundering

Thursday 16 March 2017

HM Treasury has published a consultation on draft Money Laundering Regulations 2017 and their response to the recent consultation on the Fourth Money Laundering Directive, stating their intention not to regulate lettings activity.

Section 6.2 of the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 Consultation response states:

While it should be noted that the majority of respondents to the consultation supported the inclusion of letting agents within the regime, intelligence and evidence was not provided to justify the inclusion of lettings activity and the attendant costs of this proposal for those affected. The government will only “gold plate” where there is good evidence that a material ML/TF risk exists. In line with the directive, lettings agents will continue to be within the scope of the regulations where they carry out estate agency work in accordance with section one of the Estate Agents Act 1979 (as amended). However, the application of the Money Laundering Regulations will not be extended to include lettings activity.     

David Cox, ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive commented:

“We are disappointed the Government has chosen not to include lettings activity within the Money Laundering Regulations 2017. The risk is that money laundering activity will transfer from the sales sector, due to the increased powers within the new regulation, into the lettings sector which remains unregulated.                      

"However, within the context of the recently increased legislative burden on letting agents, coupled with the shock announcement to ban letting agent fees in the Autumn Statement, we understand why the Government has chosen not to impose these requirements at this critical juncture.”

This new consultation welcomes views on questions raised by their response to the Fourth Money Laundering Directive and on whether the draft regulations meet the government’s stated aims.

This consultation will run until 12 April 2017 and you can pass comments about the proposals to Tim Douglas, ARLA Propertymark Policy and Campaigns Officer to form part of our response.

To read the full Money Laundering Regulations 2017 consultation document visit gov.uk.