The new register of overseas entities
From 1 August 2022 overseas entities owning property in the UK must register on a new register of overseas entities (ROE), maintained by Companies House and disclose details of their beneficial owners, which will be publicly available.
Existing property owners will have a 6 month transitional period to 31 January 2023 to register.
Registration will also be required ahead of any new property transactions, as the land registry will not process the change in ownership until they have received evidence of registration.
Any overseas entities who have sold properties since 28 February 2022 are also required to register.
Penalties will apply for non-compliance.
As part of their proposals to reduce economic crime, the idea of a register of beneficial owners of overseas entities holding UK land and property, was first announced by the government in 2016. The Economic Crime bill was fast tracked through parliament in March 2022 following the war in Ukraine, when the identity of the beneficial owners of UK land and building assets became a public talking point, as part of the sanctions that were put in place.
Currently where an overseas entity owns UK land and property, it is the name of the overseas entity that is disclosed on the land registry, however no details of the beneficial owners are held.
The ‘Register of Overseas Entities (ROE)’ has been setup so the beneficial owners of UK land and property held by overseas entities will now be publicly available.
Who will need to register and what information is provided
The register will apply to any ‘overseas entity’ holding UK land and property. This will therefore apply to entities who fall under the non-resident landlord regime, any non-UK entity falling under the ATED regime and any other overseas entities holding UK land and property.
Details of the beneficial owners of the overseas entity will need to be provided as part of the registration and this information will need to be verified by a UK-agent. Once Companies House are satisfied they have received all relevant information they will issue an Overseas Entity ID, which the overseas entity will need before buying, selling or transferring property.