Information on the Geldwäschegesetz (GwG, German Money Laundering Act)
Why a real estate agent will ask to see your personal ID document
Like many other sectors and professions, real estate agents as well are legally obligated to identify their business partners in accordance with the stipulations of Section 3 of the German Money Laundering Act (GwG). In fact, the identification of a prospective buyer by the real estate agent must be performed before contractual purchase negotiations can even begin!
In the case of private individuals, this is done by inspecting the corresponding personal ID card or passport. In the process, the real estate agent must record that person’s last name and (all) first name(s), their date of birth, nationality, and postal address, as well as the serial number and issuing authority of the ID document presented. As an alternative, the ID document may be photocopied.
In the case of legal entities or quasi-legal entities, identification is performed by inspecting the corresponding commercial register. Here, the real estate agent must identify, establish, and record the entity’s valid company name, the location and address of its registered seat, the address at which its main office is doing business, the name(s) of its legal representative(s), as well as the identity of the “beneficial owner” within the meaning of Section 1 paragraph 6 of the German Money Laundering Act (GwG). Copies of the corresponding personal ID documents and commercial register extracts may be made.
Further information must also be obtained, e.g. regarding the entity’s business purpose and whether the contractual counterparty is acting and dealing for himself or on behalf of a third party. It will also have to be established whether or not the contractual counterparty (or beneficial owner, if applicable) qualifies as a “Politically Exposed Person” (PEP).
The real estate agent is under obligation to keep all of the records on file for at least five (5) years. The stipulations of the Bundesdatenschutzgesetz (BDSG, Federal Data Protection Act) must be observed in the process insofar as they tie in with the Money Laundering Act (GwG).
Thus, as a client, you will be obligated to provide the real estate agent with a personal ID document along with the corresponding information (Section 4 paragraph 6 of the Money Laundering Act (GwG)).
So please help us to comply with the statutory requirements of the Money Laundering Act!
- Allow us to create the necessary records and show us your personal ID document.
- Provide us with all the necessary information.
For further information on the Money-Laundering Act (GwG), please navigate to: