Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region

New FINTRAC regulations
January 13, 2009, 2:54 am
Filed under: Rebecca Sargent, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) now requires all real estate sales representatives to report suspicious transactions and keep detailed records of their clientele. This means that your sales representative will ask you for government issued identification when you make any real estate transactions. They will also be obligated to report any large cash purchases, or any suspicious activity where they suspect money laundering or terrorist activity. They must also make records of all deposits, or any third party involvement in a real estate transaction.

These regulations have recently been beefed up to fight the “war on terror” and are becoming ever more stringent. Real estate professionals have been sent very little literature on the new regulations and which activities to watch out for. This new regulation has not been followed by instruction on how to check identification, making it difficult for agents to properly implement. There is also no regulation on private sales, which are becoming more popular with the advent of the internet.

I believe this regulation was hastily brought out and is not being properly implemented. It makes sense to check identification for large transactions. I had to show ID the last time I rented a DVD; why not for a purchase worth hundred of thousands of dollars?

My biggest problem with this regulation is that real estate agents never learn how to check identification properly or how to spot suspicious activities, yet can be held liable for not reporting or ensuring that we are receiving valid identification. We can be charged up to $2 million dollars, and spend 5 years in jail for not reporting or keeping valid records. If this is the case, we should be taught what to look for, and how to look for it properly.