Freedom of Information Request Reveals Interesting Results

SmartSearch recently made a Freedom of Information Act Request to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), on the number of Estate Agents who had registered for supervision of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.

So who needs to register? Estate agents - those engaged in estate agency work as defined by Section 1 of the Estate Agents Act 1979. This includes residential and commercial estate agency and covers estate agents who represent either the seller or the buyer (relocation agents/property finding services). From the 1 October 2012 this includes an estate or interest in land outside the UK.

The results showed that just over 6,000 firms had registered with the OFT for Money Laundering Supervision, with RightMove the leading internet property site, stating that it had over 9,500 firms registered on its books and a leading marketing data provider stating that it had nearly 12,500 firms listed at Estate Agents in its database.

The OFT website details enforcement action taken against Estate Agency firms who fail to register, and we see firms fined £2,000 for failing to register nearly every other month.

Unlike other professions such as the legal or accountancy sectors there has been until now no legal requirement to register with professional bodies for Estate Agents. However, we can see from the figures above there still seems a long way to go to ensure that all of the Estate Agency profession not only register with the OFT, but also take their obligation of prevent Money Laundering seriously.

For more information call 0113 238 7660 or email or Office of Fair Trading

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