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Reader poll: Do you charge for AML checks?

A majority of Estate Agent Today readers have revealed they do not charge for anti-money laundering checks but around a quarter have indicated they either do or would consider it.

Estate Agent Today last week revealed that Purplebricks has begun charging buyers and sellers a £60 fee for anti-money laundering (AML) checks.

An online message to potential buyers interested in making an offer on a property, seen by Estate Agent Today, shows the fee must be paid to its partner  Lifetime Legal so it can complete AML checks before a memorandum of sale is issued.


A poll at the bottom of the story asked readers if they also charge for these checks.

A majority of 72% said no, while 17% said yes and 11% were considering it, suggesting 28% of respondents either are or could start charging buyers and sellers.

The revelation divided opinion, with one reader suggesting agents need to consider these costs.

David Randall said: “Agents need to consider the true cost of AML checks to their business, its not just the cost of an individual check, which will be a minimum of £10.00 per transaction and more if sales fall through, it’s the cost of registering for AML supervision with HMRC at £600 per branch, processing time, the cost of training staff and the additional insurance costs. 

“Also, to keep costs down, AML checks are often bought in bulk and they are not always used up. 

“Don't forget, this is something imposed on agents by HMRC which costs their businesses both time and money to implement, why should agents just have to suck up the extra costs without passing it on to the customer in some way.”

  • Matthew Payne

    I wonder how many agents will now start though, very discreetly though of course...

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    Of course I don't charge buyers. Buyers choose the property, not the agent. My client is the seller so they pay the bill, which includes the cost of photos, listing on the portals, accompanied viewings, etc, PLUS all the necessary AML checks carried out on them and their prospective buyers. It is a legal requirement that estate agents - not buyers - carry out AML checks on customers (taking a risk based approach), so if there are third-party costs it is for the agent and their paying client to pick up the bill.

  • Stuart Forsdike PCS Legal

    its an interesting thought as all law firms would make such a charge - having said that there is maybe more involved as we also have to carry out lots of client profiling which adds significant cost to the transaction


    If a buyer doesn't like the fees quoted by a law firm they can go elsewhere, but a buyer cannot choose the agent a property is marketed by. If Purplebricks chooses to charge £60, Baristow Eves say £80, and Savills decide they want £100, buyers have no choice.
    The seller is the agents client, and if they want to sell they should be paying all their agent's costs.


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