UK government publishes draft legislation to identify overseas beneficial owners of UK property

UK government publishes draft legislation to identify overseas beneficial owners of UK property

Two years ago David Cameron announced plans to introduce a register of overseas entities owning UK land (the Register), with the objective of identifying and recording overseas entities who transact in UK real estate to prevent and combat those entities investing illicit funds, or laundering money, via the UK property market. The Government has recently published a draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill, with comments invited by 17 September 2018.

The new regime will require overseas entities to register details of their beneficial owners if they wish to own, let or dispose of land in the UK, with fairly severe penalties for non-compliance.

We outline the reasons for introducing the Register, its key features and its potential impact on property and real estate finance transactions in England and Wales, in our guidance note attached below.

The draft Bill, the impact assessment and the Government’s overview document on how the Register will work can be viewed here.

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