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LS Legal News Bulletin

Act now: Updates for overseas entities owning land in the UK

Act now: Updates for overseas entities owning land in the UK

Friday 18th November 2022

Act now: Updates for overseas entities owning land in the UK

On 1 August 2022, a new register was introduced, which will provide access to the information on who controls and owns overseas entities owning land in the UK.

Any overseas entity which already owns or plans to acquire land in the UK must make it a priority to register, or it will not be able to deal effectively with its UK land.

The new register has been introduced as part of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (the Act) and went live on 1 August 2022. It is maintained by Companies House and requires overseas entities owning land in the UK to disclose details of their beneficial owners.

The register is modelled closely on the register of persons with significant control (PSC Register) introduced for UK corporate entities in 2016.

Key facts to note:

  • Overseas entities which already own land in the UK or plan to acquire it must apply to be registered in the register of overseas entities as a matter of urgency or may face difficulties with their land transactions.
  • Whether or not an overseas entity needs to apply to join the register, it will still need to supply details to the Companies House of any relevant dispositions made between 28 February 2022 and 31 January 2023 (inclusive).
  • Applications to join the register will be dealt with in order of receipt. There is likely to be an initial flurry of applications, and it is unclear how long Companies House will take to process them. We recommend acting now to get ahead of the queue.

An overseas entity is defined as a legal entity governed by the law of a territory or country outside the UK. It will include, e.g., companies incorporated in Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man. It does not include individual owners.

Exceptions include where the disposition is made under a contract before the restriction was entered on the title or made according to a court order or statutory obligation.

If you think you might be affected, do not hesitate to get in touch with us to prepare for this transition.