Record keeping requirements for real estate brokers or sales representatives, and real estate developers


March 2021

This guidance comes into effect on June 1, 2021.

Real estate brokers and sales representatives, and real estate developers have record keeping requirements under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and associated Regulations.

If you are a real estate broker or sales representative, you must keep the records listed in this guidance when you act as an agent or mandatary in the purchase or sale of real estate.Footnote 1

If you are a real estate developer, you must keep the records listed in this guidance when you sell to the public a new house, condominium unit, commercial or industrial building, or multi-unit residential building. In addition, if you are a real estate developer that is incorporated, you must keep the records listed in this guidance when you are acting on your own behalf, or on behalf of a subsidiary or affiliate.Footnote 2

This guidance outlines certain record keeping requirements for real estate brokers, sales representatives, and real estate developers. You have additional record keeping requirements that are detailed in the following guidance:

This guidance answers the following questions:

  1. What records must I keep and what must they contain?
  2. What are my responsibilities when maintaining records?
  3. What are the exceptions to the record keeping requirements?

**Note: Throughout this guidance, all references to dollar amount (such as $10,000) are in Canadian dollars.

1. What records must I keep and what must they contain?

You must keep the following records:

  1. Reports—a copy of every report sent to FINTRAC
    • Suspicious Transaction Reports
    • Terrorist Property Reports
    • Large Cash Transaction Reports
    • Large Virtual Currency Transaction Reports
  2. Large cash transaction records
  3. Large virtual currency transaction records
  4. Receipt of funds records
  5. Information records
  6. Identification of unrepresented party records (not applicable to real estate developers)

**Note: When you are required to keep records about your clients, you should be as descriptive as possible. Being descriptive when recording the nature of the principal business or occupation of a client will help determine whether a transaction or activity is consistent with what would be expected for that client. For example, when the client's occupation is "manager", the record should reflect the area of management, such as "hotel reservations manager" or "retail clothing store manager". When an entity's principal business area is sales, the record should specify the type of sales, such as "pharmaceutical sales" or "retail sales".

a. Reports—a copy of every report sent to FINTRAC

You must keep a copy of every report that you submit to FINTRAC as a record.

Suspicious Transaction Report

When you submit a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 3

Retention: At least five years after the day the STR was submitted.Footnote 4

Terrorist Property Report

When you submit a Terrorist Property Report (TPR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 5

Retention: At least five years after the day the TPR was submitted.Footnote 6

Large Cash Transaction Report

When you submit a Large Cash Transaction Report (LCTR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 7

Retention: At least five years from the date the LCTR was created.Footnote 8

Large Virtual Currency Transaction Report

When you submit a Large Virtual Currency Transaction Report (LVCTR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 9

Retention: At least five years from the date the LVCTR was created.Footnote 10

b. Large cash transaction records

You must keep a large cash transaction record when you receive $10,000 or more in cash.Footnote 11

If you authorize a person or an entity to receive funds on your behalf, and that person or entity receives $10,000 or more in cash in accordance with the authorization, you are deemed to have received the amount when it is received by the person or entity, and you must keep a large cash transaction record.Footnote 12

**Note: This requirement is subject to the 24-hour rule.Footnote 13

A large cash transaction record must include:Footnote 14

Retention: At least five years from the date the large cash transaction record was created.Footnote 15

c. Large virtual currency transaction records

You must keep a large virtual currency (VC) transaction record when you receive VC in an amount equivalent to $10,000 or more.Footnote 16

If you authorize a person or an entity to receive VC on your behalf, and that person or entity receives VC in an amount equivalent to $10,000 or more in accordance with the authorization, you are deemed to have received the VC when it is received by the person or entity, and you must keep a large VC transaction record.Footnote 17

**Note: This requirement is subject to the 24-hour rule.Footnote 18

A large VC transaction record must include:Footnote 19

Retention: At least five years from the date the large VC transaction record was created.Footnote 20

d. Receipt of funds records

When you receive funds in any amount, you must keep a receipt of funds record that includes:Footnote 21

If the receipt of funds record is in respect of an entity that is a corporation, you must also keep a copy of the part of its official corporate records that contains provisions relating to the power to bind the corporation regarding the transaction.Footnote 22 This could be found in, for example:

Retention: At least five years from the date the receipt of funds record was created.Footnote 23

If you are a real estate broker or sales representative and you receive funds from a client represented by another real estate broker or sales representative, then it is the broker or sales representative that holds the relationship with the client providing the funds that must keep the receipt of funds record, and the required part of the corporate records for a corporation.Footnote 24

As a real estate broker or sales representative that is required to keep a receipt of funds record when another real estate broker or sales representative receives funds from your client, you are not required to record the following information, if you have taken reasonable measures to obtain it, but were unable to:Footnote 25

Additionally, as a real estate broker or sales representative that is required to keep a receipt of funds record when another real estate broker or sales representative receives funds from your client; you are not required to record the account number or the full name of the account holder if you determine and record that a trust account is affected by the transaction and is held by another real estate broker or sales representative.Footnote 26

e. Information records

Real estate brokers and sales representatives must keep an information record on every person or entity for which they act as an agent or mandatary for the purchase or sale of real estate.Footnote 27 If the client is a corporation, you must keep a copy of the part of the official corporate records that contains provisions relating to the power to bind the corporation regarding the transaction.Footnote 28 This could be found in, for example:

Real estate developers must keep an information record on every person or entity they sell a new house, new condominium unit, new commercial or industrial building or new multi-unit residential building to.Footnote 29 If the client is a corporation, you must also keep a copy of the part of the official corporate records that contains provisions relating to the power to bind the corporation regarding the transaction, as listed above.Footnote 30

An information record must include:Footnote 31

If you have multiple clients for a transaction, then an information record must be kept about each client. For example, a real estate broker or sales representative representing a couple for a purchase or sale must keep an information record about each person.Footnote 32

Retention: Five years from the day the last business transaction was conducted.Footnote 33

f. Identification of unrepresented party records

As a real estate broker or sales representative, if you are involved in a real estate transaction with an unrepresented party, and you are acting as an agent for another party (your client), then you must take reasonable measures to verify the identity of the unrepresented party.Footnote 34

If you are not able to verify the unrepresented party's identity after taking reasonable measures, you must keep a record of the measures you took, the date the measures were taken, and why you were unable to verify the party's identity.Footnote 35

Retention: At least five years from the date the record was created.Footnote 36

2. What are my responsibilities when maintaining records?

In order to comply with your record keeping requirements, you must keep records in such a manner that they can be provided to FINTRAC within 30 days of a request.Footnote 37 The records may also be requested through a judicial order by law enforcement to support an investigation of money laundering or terrorist activity financing. A record (or a copy) may be kept in a machine-readable or electronic form, so long as a paper copy can easily be produced.Footnote 38

Employees who keep records for you are not required to keep them after their employment ends. The same is true for persons in a contractual relationship with you, when the contractual relationship ends, they no longer have to keep records for you.Footnote 39 You have to obtain and keep the records that were kept for you by an employee or contractor before the end of the person's employment or contract.

There may be situations where you are required to keep records for purposes other than complying with your obligations under the PCMLTFA. For example, a federal or provincial regulator may require you to keep records in addition to those described in this guidance. If this is the case, you must still meet the requirements described in this guidance. For example, the retention period for your records can be longer than what is described, but it cannot be shorter.

3. What are the exceptions to the record keeping requirements?

If you are required to keep a record with information that is readily available in other records, you do not have to record the information again.Footnote 40

For example, when you keep a copy of a large cash transaction report (LCTR) you may choose to use this as your large cash transaction record for the same transaction, so long as all of the information that would otherwise be kept in the large cash transaction record is captured within the report. Any requirement related to keeping the large cash transaction record would still apply, such as verifying identity.  

Financial entities, public bodies, and very large corporations or trusts

You are not required to keep a large cash transaction record, a large VC transaction record, or a receipt of funds record if the cash, VC or funds is received from a client that is a financial entity (FE) or a public body, or a person who is acting on behalf of a client that is an FE or public body.Footnote 41

You are not required to keep a receipt of funds record or an information record for:Footnote 42

Virtual currency

When you receive VC as compensation for the validation of a transaction that is recorded in a distributed ledger or you receive a nominal amount of VC for the sole purpose of validating a different transaction or a transfer of information, you do not need to keep a large VC transaction record.Footnote 43

Date Modified: