Money laundering and real estate

Real estate transactions can be used in several ways to aid in money laundering; these do not necessarily involve buying a property with cash. B.C. is taking the necessary steps to address these risks.

B.C.’s Expert Panel on Money Laundering in Real Estate report identified disclosure of beneficial ownership as the “single most important measure that can be taken to combat money laundering”. A beneficial owner is a person who ultimately owns or controls a corporation, trust or partnership.

Actions the Province of B.C. has taken

Land Owner Transparency Registry: Launched in 2020, the Land Owner Transparency Act requires reporting bodies (i.e., corporations, trustees and partners) that own real estate to file a transparency report identifying the beneficial owners with the Land Owner Transparency Registry. This publicly accessible registry is a tool that provides a clearer picture of who owns land in B.C.

Condo and Strata Assignment Integrity Register: Launched in 2019, the Condo and Strata Assignment Integrity Register is an online register to track assignments of pre-sale condos. This will provide government with better information about the pre-sale market. It is designed to crack down on tax evasion and make B.C.’s real estate market more transparent and fair for people in B.C.

Mortgage Services Act: The Province is modernizing the regulation of mortgage brokers, lenders and administrators with the new Mortgage Services Act. The act will give B.C.’s financial services sector regulator, the BC Financial Services Authority, the ability to develop rules for licensing and licensee conduct, which was one of the recommendations resulting from the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in B.C. It will also expand licensing requirements and enhance disclosure and reporting obligations.

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