Latest News

Keeping your business running during the Coronavirus pandemic

09 April 2020

Agents may be wondering how best to keep the cash flowing, cut costs and get their business ready for a return to the new normal. There are a number of steps managers and business owners can take to keep their business in good shape during this time of economic and general uncertainty. Read More...

Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 stakeholder guidance

08 April 2020

The emergency legislation introduced by the Scottish Government and passed by the Scottish Parliament received Royal Assent on 6 April 2020. To coincide with it’s passing into law the Scottish Government has released a guidance document that outlines key measures contained within the Act. Read More...

Propertymark campaign leads to commission included in furloughed pay

06 April 2020

Government has amended the eligibility criteria following Propertymark's campaign for agents' commission payments to be included in claims for Furloughed Pay. Read More...

Landlord Income Tax Relief fully phased in

06 April 2020

At the Summer Budget 2015, the then Chancellor George Osborne announced that the amount of Income Tax relief landlords can get on residential property finance costs will be restricted and gradually reduced from April 2017 until April 2020. Read More...

UK Gov guidance – EPCs and COVID-19

06 April 2020

On 2 April 2020, the UK Government released information confirming that the legal requirement to obtain an EPC before selling or letting a property remains in place, but EPC assessments should only be conducted where they can be done safely and in line with guidance relating to Coronavirus. Read More...

Staff on commission must be considered in Job Retention Scheme

03 April 2020

In a letter to Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Propertymark has urged him to promptly allow agents to include employee’s full salaries under the variable pay element of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Read More...

Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill – land registration and the Registers of Scotland

02 April 2020

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill was passed on 1 April 2020 to respond to the emergency caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. The legislation impacts land registration and the Registers of Scotland. Read More...

Scottish Government issues buying and selling guidance during lockdown

01 April 2020

The guidance stresses transactions may continue and it echoes guidance from the UK Government that all parties should seek to delay a house move wherever possible whilst the stay-at-home measures are in place. Read More...

Art Market Participants included in new Money Laundering Regulations

Monday 17 February 2020

The Money Laundering Regulations 2019 passed into UK law on 10 January 2020, affecting those working in property auctions, sales as well as lettings and high-value dealers.

The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019 amend the Money Laundering Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017.  The Regulations extend the scope of “obliged entities” to art market participants who are now covered by the legislation. 

Art Market Participants

Art Market Participants mean a firm or sole practitioner who trades in or acts as an intermediary in the sale or purchase of works of art and the value of the transactions or a series of linked transactions, amounts to 10,000 euros or more.  


In the legislation works of art means anything as defined in section 21(6) to (6B) of the Value Added Tax Act 1994, which means:  

  • Paintings, drawings, decorative plaque or collages executed by hand
  • Engravings, lithographs, and prints including limited editions
  • Original sculpture or statuary
  • Sculpture casts including limited editions
  • Handmade tapestries and limited editions
  • Signed ceramics
  • Enamel on copper (excluding jewellery)
  • Mounted or unmounted photographs including limited editions


As also set out in the legislation an art market participant is also the operator of a freeport when it, or any other firm or sole practitioner, by way of business stores works of art in the freeport and the value of the works of art stored for a person, or a series of linked person, amounts to 10,000 euros or more.  


Free ports are also known as free zones. They are areas designated as special zones for customs purposes.

When the UK Government consulted on the transposition of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive, they said there are currently no free ports in the UK. The Government did, however, say that there are customs warehouses, but these are generally not used for art transactions in the same way as free ports in other non-EU jurisdictions.


All art market participants within the Money Laundering Regulations will have to register with HMRC. As outlined within the Regulations, there is a 12-month window (until 10 January 2021) to register.

What do you need to do?

  • Written Risk Assessment - establish and maintain an up to date written risk assessment that is appropriate to the size of the business.
  • A written policy on how to manage the risk - establish, maintain and review written policies, controls, and procedures to mitigate and manage effectively the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing identified in any risk assessment.
  • Internal controls - appoint a senior manager as Nominated Officer/Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) responsible for the business’ compliance with the Regulations.
  • Training - ensure employees are aware of the law and provide regular training opportunities in how to recognise and deal with transactions that may be related to money laundering and terrorist financing.

Customer Due Diligence

Before a business relationship is established, Art Market Participants must identify and verify their customers, obtaining information on the nature of the business relationship and details of any beneficial owners.

  • Record keeping - Art Market Participants must keep copies of CDD and supporting records and ensure the information is up to date.
  • Ongoing monitoring - Art Market Participants must carry out ongoing monitoring of a business relationship.
  • Cease transactions - if an Art Market Participant is unable to apply CDD measures, they must not establish a business relationship or carry out a transaction and terminate any existing business relationship with the customer.


Businesses must also apply CDD in order to understand the ownership and control structure of their customers as well as verify the identity of senior managing officials when the beneficial owner cannot be identified.


Enhanced Due Diligence must be applied in situations that are high risk in addition to the Customer Due Diligence requirements.

Politically exposed persons

Businesses must have in place appropriate risk-management systems and procedures to determine and manage the enhanced risks arising from whether a customer or the beneficial owner of the customer is a Politically Exposed Persons or a family member or a known close associate of a Politically Exposed Person.

Suspicious Activity Reports

Once an Art Market Participant has suspicion or knowledge, or reasonable ground to suspect that money laundering is taking place by their customer, or a transaction or relationship their client is concerned with, they should notify the MLRO immediately through a written internal report

Once the appropriate level of suspicion or knowledge has been formed that the letting agency is concerned with a money laundering issue, the letting agency must complete a Suspicious Activity Report and send it to the National Crime Agency. 

Government guidance