The government is seeking views on proposals to introduce a ‘beneficial ownership register’ which would name the beneficial owners of overseas legal entities that own land in the UK.
The register would require beneficial owners of overseas entities to be registered with Companies House who would issue them with a unique ID number.
Without the ID number, the overseas entity would not be registered as the owner of the property with the Land Registry.
The aim of the draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill is to achieve greater transparency in the UK property market and to combat money laundering.
As the law stands at the moment, beneficial owners of overseas companies who own UK property are often hidden, making the property market vulnerable to misuse as a means of hiding or laundering the proceeds of crime.
It is thought that the register will act as a deterrent, requiring the same level of transparency of overseas entities as UK companies. If the draft bill becomes law, the register is likely to go live in 2021.
The consultation closes at 5pm on 17 September 2018.