Policy: Agency Policy – Anti-Money Laundering
Property Providers’ vision is to “Help People Live Better” by being Sydney’s most flexible residential rental company. This vision is driven by three core values: Passion, Performance and Partnership. This policy has been created based on our belief in our guiding principle, that all great long-term partnerships have a solid foundation of mutual respect, mutual reward, mutual investment, and mutual risk.
This policy provides a clear framework on how Property Providers proactively prevent money laundering as it relates to both Short-Term Rental and Long-Term Leasing transactions.
Property Providers take the handling of other people’s money seriously. The Australian Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) Act requires businesses to implement and maintain an AML/CTF program to identify, mitigate and manage the risks associated with money laundering and terrorism financing. In addition, real estate best practices provide guidance on how to effectively implement AML policies and procedures. Real estate transactions have a higher-than-normal exposure to money laundering activities, and our executive and luxury portfolio of properties increases this risk. As a result, the agency must be particularly careful and diligent.
The rationale for this policy is to ensure that our short-term rental or holiday rental agency complies with the requirements of the AML/CTF Act and real estate best practices. By implementing effective AML policies and procedures, we can prevent our agency from being used to launder money or finance terrorism, while also protecting our customers/clients and our business from associated risks.
Our Anti Money Laundering (AML) policy includes the following components in accordance with the AML/CTF Act and real estate best practices:
- Operations: We will only transact with customers (guests/tenants/owners) using valid credit cards or bank transfers. We do not accept cash, digital currency, money-wiring services, personal or company cheques.
- Customer Identification: We will verify the identity of all clients (owners) and their source of funds before conducting any transactions. We will verify the identity of all customers (guests/tenants/owners) where transactions are being sent into a bank account. This includes collecting valid certified photo identification, bank account statements that match their identification supplied and, where applicable, proof of ownership and/or proof of the original transaction/s in the account. A working phone number and a company email address (i.e., not Gmail, Hotmail or similar) must be supplied to verify individuals. Any requests for a refund must be in writing, and we will validate the request by phone.
- Risk Assessment: We will conduct risk assessments on customers and transactions to identify potential risks associated with money laundering and terrorism financing;
- Record Keeping: We will maintain accurate and detailed records of all customers and transaction information. This will include creating a dedicated case in our CRM with applicable communication
- Training and Awareness: We will provide regular training and awareness programs to our employees to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities in preventing money laundering and terrorism financing;
- Refunds: We will only refund monies into bank accounts after verifying the customer’s identity and ensuring that their bank account matches their identification details and proof is supplied of original monies leaving this bank account. Where payment is made originally on a credit card, a refund will be returned only to the original credit card the transaction was processed on.
- Refund Timing: We reserve the right to withhold a refund if we are not reasonably satisfied that all steps have been taken to avoid money laundering. Once valid identification has been received and checks have been conducted, we will process refunds within seven (7) working days. Where suitable documentation is not supplied, we will hold onto deposits within our trust account for 12 months from the original or first transaction to allow enough time for the customer/client to adhere to this policy. After 12 months have passed, if required proof is not supplied, the agency will assume that the customer has abandoned the transaction, and the deposit will be forfeited to the agency. The agency will follow up regarding the transaction in question three (3) times. After this, it is the customer’s responsibility to provide the information requested.
- Reporting: If required by the AML/CTF Act, we will report certain transactions or suspicious activities to AUSTRAC.
- Costs: We will charge the guest/tenant/owner any applicable charges outlined in our Management Agreement and Terms and Conditions.
The mechanics of our AML policy include:
- Jurisdiction: Property Providers comply with AML/CTF laws, rules and regulations in the countries where we have a permanent place of business.
- Property Providers will provide their products and services only for legitimate purposes to customers whose identities we have been able to ascertain. Customers will need to provide a request for funds in writing and these requests will be managed as outlined above (i.e., by the customer providing valid photo identification, and bank statement matching where the name matches their ID (which matches the name the booking was made under). The banking statement will need to display the original transaction where that transaction matches what has settled into our Trust account.
- Banking & Payment Systems: Property Providers only partner with banking and payment providers, such as Stripe, who process personal data to verify the identity of individuals and entities in order to comply with AML/CTF legislation in our Jurisdiction.
- Staff Training & Compliance: AML policies and education are included in all staff inductions and reviewed annually. We will provide guidance and support materials to ensure compliance with this policy.
- Record Keeping & Storage: Property Providers will maintain systems to ensure the security of personal information shared, and will only store this information
- Review: This policy will be reviewed as necessary based on regulatory changes and independent advice.
Property Providers‘ positioning is to be “Sydney’s Most Flexible Residential Rental Agency.”
Property Providers‘ Anti-Money Laundering Policy outlines procedures for preventing money laundering in line with Australian laws. It covers customer ID verification, approved payment methods, and risk assessment, while also mandating staff training and regulated refunds. The policy is active in all operating regions.
We believe that the above policy has been developed with the spirit of partnership in mind and is grounded by our guiding principles of mutual respect, mutual reward, mutual investment and mutual risk.
Effective Date: This policy was last updated on 6 September 2023.