Why do estate agents need to see ID before you can buy or sell?
If you are buying or selling a property and your estate agent doesn’t ask your ID, then it means they could be breaking the law.
According to the Money Laundering Regulation Act, KYC or know your customer is a must. This means that the estate agents should be sure about their clients. For this purpose, they ask for identity proof of both buyers and sellers and ownership proof of the property from clients who wish to sell. The availability of these documents ensures that the transaction is transparent and the parties involved are genuine. This compliance ensures that there are no issues faced by any party later.
The Money Laundering Regulations by the government is to ensure that the businesses at the risk of being misused for money laundering for any criminal or terrorist activity have checks in place to reduce the risk of such happenings. The property market is one such sector which absolutely needs strict regulations.
Compliance – A Must For The Property Market
There are a number of documents listed in the legislation that can be used to verify or check the property ownership. Even if your solicitor has seen the documents and made checks, the estate agent is still legally bound to carry out the KYC checks for all his clients. So, whether it is a buyer, seller, or a landlord, everybody must submit ID proof for verification.
In most of the cases when the owners are living in the property, obtaining property ownership proof and ID proof is quite simple. However, in a scenario where the owner is living abroad, the estate agent has to put in extra effort and do in-depth validation. Whereas, in case of corporate or company as sellers, the agent will have to confirm the details of the company. The agent will have to identify and verify all the directors or major shareholders of the company apart from checking the ultimate ownership of the property.
The estate agents have to verify or re-confirm details of the clients in every few years, especially when they are involved in long-term business relationship. So don’t get offended when your estate agent asks for your ID proof again because they are bound by the law so as to ensure that they are dealing with the right people.
Complying with money laundering regulations is one of the basic requirements of an estate agent as defined by law.
It’s just a small part of what we do to comply with regulations, but it is very important.