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Regulating agents will make property ownership more transparent - claim

Propertymark says the regulation of property agents and the creation of a statutory Code of Practice can improve the transparency of the ownership of land involving trusts.   

Laws such as the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 and the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023, have led to greater public information on beneficial owners of overseas entities, and His Majesty’s Land Registry retains a record of the legal owners of land. 

Propertymark says these are two steps the UK Government has taken in recent years to make it simpler to identify the ownership and beneficiaries of business and property in the UK.   


However, information on who may be in control of land beyond the owner is not simple to find.   

Now Propertymark has put its views to a government consultation on transparency of land ownership involving trusts.

The agents’ trade body says it’s hard to ask for changes to a lease or to sell property linked to the land as there may be central information needed to potential buyers that only the freeholder would have access to.     

Also, to prevent property agents from falling foul of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 - law designed to stop additional money laundering happening through UK property - having simpler access to owners and beneficiaries of land aids property agents to conduct anti-money laundering due diligence checks.   

Though Propertymark acknowledges anxieties over privacy, and says one way to stop the misuse of increased transparency is to implement compulsory regulation of property agents and establish a statutory Code of Practice for property agents working in the sector.   

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, says:    “Increasing the transparency of land ownership will help resolve disputes and increase the speed at which land can be bought and sold. When selling land, knowing who has the final say over decision-making is vital to guarantee a speedy and successful sales process. 

“Also, it can cost consumers and property agents thousands of pounds when sales fall through due to obstructions in retrieving information. Increasing the transparency of land ownership should prevent this. 

“Understandably, some landowners may have concerns over how their data will be accessed, which is why it is important that we establish the regulation of property agents to ensure data is accessed and used correctly.”


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