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New rules for real estate agencies

New rules have come in to force in Portugal meaning that buyers and sellers will have to provide more details to agents before making a deal.

According to a report by Portuguese news agency Lusa, entities responsible for real estate activities in Portugal have from 26 June, new obligations to identify, control and communicate the purchase, lease, sale or exchange of real estate operations.

In question is a regulation on the prevention and combating money laundering and financing of terrorist covering all activities of real estate mediation and promotion, leasing and purchase, sale or exchange of real estate developed by real estate entities.

The new duties include the identification of the clients, regardless of whether they are individuals or companies, as well as the beneficiaries, that is, individual or legal persons who hold directly or indirectly.

This client identification must be made before the establishment of the business relationship and will have to go through the collection of the name, address, nationality, tax number, profession and employer or, in the case of undertakings, the address of the head office or branch or the identification of holders with shares exceeding 5%.

Alongside this identification, entities with real estate activity are also obliged to have a written record of the information collected, which must be maintained for seven years, and to define risk management models in order to identify suspicious operations of laundering or terrorist financing.

Under these new rules, real estate entities must communicate to the Institute of Public Real Estate and Construction Markets (IMPIC) the elements relating to each real estate transaction in which they intervene, as well as the elements relating to lease contracts whose monthly income is equal to or greater than €2,500.

The new identification and communication duties are required whenever a transaction of more than or equal to €15,000 is concerned, whenever the real estate or the intermediary suspects that the transactions in question may be related to money laundering or terrorism financing or there are doubts about the truthfulness of client identification data.

Companies in the sector with more than five employees are also obliged to have a regulatory compliance officer (RPN).