HMRC’s online Anti-Money Laundering or AML registration system for lettings agents has finally gone live four months after its original launch date in January following delays caused by IT difficulties.
Letting agents are the final part of the industry to be included in the AML regulations which since January have covered agents who rent properties for more than £8,800 (€10,000) a month.
While this might sound a lot, in London this includes nearly 3,000 rental properties marketed by hundreds of agents, and another 1,000 properties in the Home Counties.
The agents marketing these types of homes must now register with HMRC, follow the AML regulations and have until January 10th next year to comply in order to trade legally. This includes ensuring that relevant staff within each agency have passed the relevant approval checks.
In January, when the registration system was originally expected to go live, HMRC dropped its £100 fee charged to each agency when first registering to be supervised.
This decision appeared to be a sop to agents after the annual per branch renewal fee was increased to £300, up from £110 five years ago.
A month after this, AML specialist IamProperty revealed that almost a third of agents were unsure if they were compliant with the rules, that many believed reporting AML activity to HMRC might lose them sales and that others felt that the process of complying with the rules was too time consuming.