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Show I.D. then repeat....

Recently HM Government have kicked off a new campaign against money laundering and terrorist financing called Flag It Up. Whilst many people will wonder what this has to do with them, when you are buying or selling a house you will have encountered this.

Everyone in the property industry will be asking you for your ID and you will have to provide it to at least 3 people, your Estate Agent, your Mortgage Broker and your Lawyer. Most people find this an absolute nuisance, however it is a necessity and so I thought I would dedicate a blog to why you have to provide it to so many parties and what it is that you need to provide.

We should never underestimate how close we come to this form of economic crime as it is not a victimless crime. Any person in this country can be the victim of fraud whether at the hands of a sophisticated con or a bank card being cloned. Money laundering helps the organised crime gangs profit at the expense of victims by cleaning up the dirty money created by these crimes. Conveyancing is a common method for disposing of or converting criminal proceeds due to being able to launder large sums in a single transaction and this is why you will be asked to provide ID at several points during a property transaction.

A new money-laundering directive came into force in 2017 and this affects persons acting in the course of business carried on in the UK within the finance sector, the legal sector and the estate agent sector which is why all of them will ask for proof of your identity The possibility of being used to assist with money laundering and terrorist financing poses many risks for these professionals, including: criminal and disciplinary sanctions for the company and individuals working for them, civil action against the company as a whole, as well as certain individuals along with damage to a companies reputation leading to a loss of business.

With all of this in mind, when you are asked for your I.D. yet again please don't get frustrated. When you find yourself wondering just how many times you will need to provide this, remember that each professional has a legal obligation to prove that they have carried out all the necessary checks required. If you are just starting out on the process of buying or selling then take 5 minutes to gather up the appropriate original documentation which is set out in the below list, ideally this will be one from list A and one from list B.

List A

  • a valid full passport; or

  • a valid H M Forces identity card with the signatory's photograph; or

  • a valid UK Photo-card full driving licence (not a provisional).

List B

  • a debit or multi-function card (bearing the Visa, Switch or Delta logo) issued in the United Kingdom with an original account statement less than three months old (we do not accept credit card statements); or

  • a firearm and shot gun certificate; or

  • a receipted utility bill less than three months old, not a mobile phone bill; or

  • a council tax bill less than three months old; or

  • a council rent book showing the rent paid for the last three months; or

  • a mortgage statement from another lender for the mortgage accounting year just ended.

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