As of Monday the 5th of July 2021, real estate meditation companies are required to strictly follow new regulations to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorism financing within the real estate sector.
There will be new obligations to comply with, emphasising due diligence, the importance of identifying clients suspected of money laundering or terrorist financing, and reporting doubts surrounding the veracity or adequacy of identification data.
As for general identification and due diligence procedures, the new rules require the obtaining of identification from real estate transaction customers, or their representatives, when they establish business relationships or carry out transactions for amounts equal to or greater than 15,000 euros, regardless of whether the transaction is carried out through a single operation or across several, apparently related, operations.
There has been an additional two paragraphs added to this article however, to extend this obligation of identification and due diligence when "it is suspected that the transactions, regardless of their value and any exception or threshold, may be related to money laundering or terrorist financing", and when "there are doubts about the veracity or adequacy of the customer identification data obtained".
This new regulation, which had already been in practice since the publication of the last diploma in 2019, also maintains the obligation of real estate entities to communicate to IMPIC, all elements related to lease agreements whose monthly rent value is equal to or greater than 2,500 euros, or the elements related to each real estate transaction in which the broker is an intervening party.
The regulation, that had been in force since 2019 and since been repealed, already included the obligation of identification (of clients, individuals or companies, and beneficial owners), control and communication of real estate purchase, lease, sale or exchange transactions.
The identification of the client must be taken according to the diploma, before the establishment of the business relationship and must include data such as name, address, nationality, NIF (Tax Identification Number), profession and employer, or in the case of companies, the address of the headquarters or branch, or the identification of owners with shareholdings greater than 5%.
Real estate mediation companies, and all the intermediaries in the real estate transaction, maintain the obligation of a written record of collected information. This record has to be kept on file for a minimum period of seven years. It is also mandatory for all mediators to define risk management models that allow the identification of operations suspected of money laundering or financing of terrorism.
Author: Paulo Lopes