knowledge | 3 August 2018 |

Legislation Published affecting Non-UK Legal Entities that own Land in the UK

The UK Government has published draft legislation to establish a new register of beneficial owners of overseas legal entities that own or enter into leases of land in the UK. Comments on the draft Bill on the Registration of Overseas Entities (available here) are requested by 17 September 2018, with registration requirements anticipated to come into operation in 2021.

Affected Irish and other non-UK entities will be required to provide information about themselves and their beneficial owners, and to update this information annually, until removed from the register. The register will be held by Companies House, the registrar of companies for England & Wales, and, for the most part, will be available for inspection by the public.

Under the draft bill an overseas entity that has not provided the required information would be prohibited from registering a transfer of ownership or qualifying lease and so would be unable to buy or sell land or enter into leases of land longer than 7 years in England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, until its filings are up-to-date. There are also further sanctions for certain breaches of the legislation, including fines and imprisonment.

Initial proposals for the legislation (summarised in our briefing on those proposals, available here) indicated that overseas entities wishing to engage in bids for UK Government contracts would also be within the scope of this legislation. It has confirmed that this aspect of the proposals will now be introduced at a later date in separate legislation.

This briefing is for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional advice. Such advice should always be taken before acting on any of the matters discussed.

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