It's been a long time coming but the property sector is becoming increasingly regulated. Estate and letting agents must ensure they are fully compliant with both Money Laundering (AML) and Immigration legislation - the so-called ‘Right to Rent’ checks. Regulators are starting to conduct proactive investigations, and Estate and letting agents now need to ensure they are fully compliant and demonstrating best practice. Those who can’t will be levied with large fines that in turn can have a real and negative impact on their brand reputation.
In February this year, the government rolled out ‘Right to Rent’ requirements across the UK. Private landlords and letting agents now have to check that all new tenants have the right to reside in the UK before renting out their properties. Under the new rules, those who fail to check a potential tenant’s immigration status can face criminal sanctions, including penalties of up to £3,000 per tenant.
There has also been a number of high-profile Money Laundering cases within the London property sector. Shortly before his departure as UK prime minister, David Cameron called for a wider international effort to crack down on money-laundering, and he announced that foreign companies owning property in the UK will have to declare their assets publicly in a crackdown on money-laundering. This means that Estate Agents are under even greater regulatory scrutiny. It has for a long time been mandatory for House Vendors to be subject to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks, however savvy Estate Agents are now carrying out due diligence checks on Buyers, Tenants and Landlords. They realise that an effective fraud mitigation and risk management process can enhance reputation and offer an edge in a highly competitive market.
Due to an increase in regulation the property industry is starting to take proactive steps to minimise fraud. As a result, some of the forward-thinking firms are now turning to Contego.
Contego simplifies and improves the customer onboarding process by taking the pain out of AML and “Right to Rent” checks. Contego is a due diligence platform that checks people, companies and ID documents in real-time. We work within the property sector for both leading UK estate agents and tenant referencing companies, performing complex, automated checks and helping them comply with AML and “Right to Rent”.
By working with a wide range of commercial data suppliers and law enforcement agencies, Contego is able to offer comprehensive checks on tenants, landlords, buyers and sellers. The breadth of data is greater than that offered by any single data supplier, and all of the data is available in one system, delivered via a single API. This provides a comprehensive, holistic view of people, companies and ID Documents, unlike any other individual provider.
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