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Estate Agents: Registration

Volume 502: debated on Thursday 10 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what estimate he has made of the number of estate agent practices which will be required to register with the Office of Fair Trading under the provisions of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007; (302792)

(2) how many of the estate agents which have registered with the Office of Fair Trading under the provisions of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 have registered (a) one premises, (b) between two and five premises, (c) between six and 10 premises and (d) 11 or more premises;

(3) how many estate agents have registered with the Office of Fair Trading under the provisions of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007; and what steps are available to the Office for use against estate agents who fail to register.

[holding answer 30 November 2009]: The Office of Fair Trading has estimated that 9,600 estate agency firms (with 14,400 branches) will be active in the estate agency market at the close of the six month registration period (January 2010) and be required to register with the OFT.

Estate agents who have registered with the OFT for money laundering purposes fall into the following categories:

(a) one premise: 1,180

(b) between two and five premises: 334

(c) between six and 10 premises: 30

(d) 11 or more premises: 26

1,570 estate agents have registered with the OFT. Those who are not registered by 31 January 2010 will be breaking the law. Failure to register can result in a fine and/or imprisonment.