Real estate agency rules tightened

in News · 21-06-2019 01:00:00 · 0 Comments
Real estate agency rules tightened

New anti-fraud, money laundering and terrorism funding policies in Portugal will affect the real estate sector directly when they come in to force on 26 June.

Various new obligations will be in place for real estate agencies, including the strict identification of clients before any deals are made, regardless of whether they are buying, selling or renting as an individual, as part of a group or as part of a business.

Now individuals will have to provide their full name, official residence, fiscal number, nationality, profession and employer, while companies will need to state their official headquarters address and the identification of all shareholders who own more than five percent of the company.

All of the information provided to estate agencies must then be kept for seven years and any suspicion detected by the agents is to be reported in relation to money laundering and terrorist financing. Failure to comply with the new rules could potentially result in criminal charges leading to prison sentences of between two and 12 years, or substantial fines.

The new rules apply to any real estate transaction of €15,000 or more and to any rental contract of €2,500 a month or more. Real estate agencies that have five or more people employed in the company will have to also appoint a compliance officer.

António Oliveira e Silva, a lawyer at Broseta, Roquete Morais and Guerra, told Lusa news agency that the new policy is a “fundamental step” in helping to make the real estate sector more transparent in Portugal, however he warned that some companies may struggle to comply with all of the requirements.

He said the “reporting, collecting and treating data will make the day-to-day operations of these companies harder, especially the smallest ones”.

“There are some procedures that will be too heavy in terms of bureaucracy and will, therefore, be bringing extra costs to these companies”.
Oliveira e Silva concluded by stating that it is now important for real estate agencies to give employees training on how to spot ”suspicious indicators” and warned that the new rules could lead to a slowdown in the sector.


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