I am buying a house, but my new solicitor says I can't prove my idnetity because my passport has run out and I have no photo id. Why is it so important to prove my identity and what can I do to satisfy the rules?
All legal professionals are required under Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Regulations to identify who they are acting for and how their clients will fund their property affairs. This helps safeguard all parties to a deal: for example it gives you reassurance that the person you are dealing with is the real seller and not a fraudster just interested in getting the money and disappearing into the night. Property fraud is a live issue in the UK and one that can cause a great deal of distress as well as financial loss.
Each firm will have their own procedures to meet the AML requirements and you will need to speak to your solicitors to understand exactly what will be needed. They will certainly need to establish your identity, which might require a visit to their offices to meet your lawyer in person - call me old fashioned but that is always my preference. You may be able to use another means of verifying your documents, for example, the Post Office perform online checks to verify the identification documents you can produce and address history.
If your passport has expired you will probably need to produce some other forms of photo/address ID - a full driving licence could be a good start - and perhaps the expired passport itself, if you still have it.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.