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Companies House plans registry for land owners from overseas

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Companies House is to set up a register of overseas entities that own land in the UK as part of the effort to fight economic crime.

The move is taking place under the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act that received royal assent last month.

The legislation will require overseas entities that own UK land to declare their beneficial owners or managing officers. They will not be able to buy, sell, transfer or lease land, or create a charge against the land in the UK unless they are on the register – a factsheet on which has already been published.

Existing owners will be given six months to place their names on the register once it is launched, while new ones will have to do so immediately when it comes into effect.

ID for sharing

Each will receive an overseas ID issued by Companies House, which will have to be shared with the relevant land registry – depending on where it is in the UK – whenever the entity buys, sells, transfers, leases or charges land.

After registering their names and those of the beneficial owners will be publicly available on the 'Find and update company information' service.

Any that do not register will face sanctions such as daily fines and not being able to transact on the land.

Companies House said it working with the UK’s land registries and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy to implement the new register as soon as possible.

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