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Economic Crime (Transparency And Enforcement) Act: Register Of Overseas Entities – A Brief Further Update – Real Estate

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Following our earlier alert on the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act
(the ‘Act’)
. Companies House now expects to launch the
new Register of Overseas Entities introduced by the Act (the
Register‘) on 1 August 2022. Clients need
to prepare themselves for this new regime.

Overseas entities that own or wish to acquire land in the UK
will have to register information about that overseas entity with
Companies House, including disclosing information about the
ultimate beneficial owners of that entity. Real estate transactions
will be adversely affected if they do not comply with the
registration requirements under the Act and there are both criminal
and financial penalties for breach.

The launch of the Register

The Register, intended to be launched on Monday 1 August 2022,
will be a digital service hosted by Companies House. Information to
be contained on the Register will need to be verified in advance
(see below).

Overseas entities wanting to buy land in the UK completing on or
after 5 September 2022 should prioritise their preparations for
registration. From that date the first changes to real estate
transactions come into force. Applications to register title for
any overseas entity will be rejected by HM Land Registry where the
entity is not on the Register by the date of the application. Time
will be needed for the entity to check its beneficial owners and
get its information verified and then submitted for registration on
the Register.

Overseas entities that already own land in the UK will be given
a six-month transition period to register their details but if they
have not done so by 28 February 2023 their own ability to deal with
their land will be adversely affected and they will be at risk of
committing criminal offences and being sanctioned by financial


Before an overseas entity registers, all relevant details
required for registration will have to be verified by a UK based
agent supervised by the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and
Transfer of Funds Regulations 2017 (being credit institutions,
financial institutions, auditors, insolvency practitioners,
external accountants and tax advisers, independent legal
professionals, trust or company service providers, estate agents
and letting agents). It is likely that complying with the
verification process will be complex and that while the Register is
new it may take some time to get the first registrations

Next Steps

In the meantime, we urge all those overseas entities affected by
the Act to start gathering information, including keeping records
of dispositions made on or after 28 February 2022.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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