There are an increasing number of businesses solely providing lettings services via online platforms and apps. Businesses purely providing lettings services should be aware the Government recently underwent a consultation in relation to the proposed Fourth Money Laundering Directive which when introduced as legislation will change how lettings agents currently carry out and assess anti-money laundering checks on landlords and tenants.
The Directive will apply to businesses which do not deal with the sale or purchase of properties but help to govern the landlord and tenant relationship – this will therefore also apply to businesses which provide lettings services via online portals or apps.
Currently the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations apply to estate agents which handle high risk property transactions or incorporate lettings as part of its business.
At the moment the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations do not apply to lettings, however if the Directive is approved then the regulations applicable to estate agents may be amended in the near future to also apply to lettings.
In light of possible changes of applicability to lettings agents, coupled with the on-going risk of cyber security and fraud, businesses which deal with landlords tenants online should have appropriate procedures in place which will allow them to determine the identity of landlords and tenants which they deal with.