Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA) on Monday issued an order directing real estate agents with a Rs 20 lakh-plus annual turnover to share details of appointments of a principal officer and a designated director.
This requirement is cited under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) as well as Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005 (PMLR).
The principal officer would act as a central reference point in facilitating reporting of suspicious transactions and identify potentially suspicious transactions. The designated director would ensure overall compliance with obligations imposed under PMLA and the PMLR.
Real estate agents have been included under the head “reporting entity” under the PMLA Act. It is obligatory on part of the reporting entity to maintain records of its business. Under the PMLA, a “reporting entity” is a banking company, a financial institution, an intermediary or a person carrying on a designated business or profession.
According to the MahaRERA order, all real estate agents are also required to upload a half-yearly progress report, which will have details of booking and sale transactions of flats, shops, plots, apartments or buildings carried out by the agents, and details of projects where a promoter has designated the agent and mention the fees charged for booking and sale transactions. Except the fees charged, others details will be made available for public viewing to enable transparency and facilitate home buyers to make an informed choice.
“Apart from fulfilling obligations under the PMLA, agents have been asked to provide details of the transactions that they undertake, including the fees they charge. Many home buyers depend on agents while buying a house. Therefore, uploading details of each of the agents will help home buyers check the agents’ credentials and then make a choice,” said a MahaRERA official.
Under sections of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, real estate agents have to be registered with MahaRERA.
The Act also mandates every real estate agent registered with MahaRERA must maintain and preserve books of accounts, records and documents.
The rules too prescribe that agents maintain and preserve books of accounts, records and documents as may be required under the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961, or the Companies Act, 2013, or under any other law applicable.