Almost a third of estate agents do not think their agency currently meets HMRC’s AML requirements, according to research from Iamproperty.
Since 2017, estate agents have been subject to more stringent AML regulations, which include a requirement of due diligence and further checks carried out on both the vendor and the buyer during every property sale. Failure to do so, could see agencies fined and even imprisoned.
However, Iamproperty found that less than half (46%) of estate agents believe that AML regulations are “equally understood and implemented” by agencies across the country, with half of respondents saying the AML regulations were “somewhat clear” and 11% stating they were “unclear”.
It also found despite the regulatory requirement, 40% of estate agents did not partake in annual AML training.
65% said they were “unconcerned” about an impending visit with a quarter of respondents adding they knew of a firm that had faced an HMRC fine, yet 40% of those admitted to no changes being brought in or new policies adopted following HMRC penalty.
Ben Ridgway, group managing director at Iamproperty, said: “This research has given us a revealing new insight into the understanding of and adherence to the increasing regulatory burden facing estate agents.
“Under the current regulatory environment, it’s never been more important for estate agents to undertake a thorough examination of each and every sale, using whatever tools they can to reduce the impact on their business.”
He added: “The research told us that almost a third of estate agents were still managing their compliance manually and relying on their instinct to flag concerns with an aspect of a sale. Yet, they are also faced with an increasingly challenging selling market.”