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

June 2017 

Record keeping requirements for the real estate sector

June 2017

This guidance on record keeping is applicable to real estate brokers and sales representatives, and real estate developers that are subject to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and associated Regulations.

In order to comply with your record keeping requirements, you are required to keep records in a manner in which they can be provided to FINTRAC within 30 days upon request. These 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.

Employees who keep records for you are not required to keep them after the end of their employment with you. The same is true for individuals in a contractual relationship with you, after the end of that contractual relationship. This means that you have to obtain and keep the records that were kept for you by any employee or contractor before the end of that individual's employment or contract with you. For example if a real estate sales representative changes brokerages, the brokerage is responsible for obtaining and keeping the records that were kept by the sales representative who acted on their behalf.

There may be situations where you are required to keep records for purposes other than your requirements under the PCMLTFA. For example, a federal or provincial regulator for your sector 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 explained in this guidance. For example, the retention period for your records can be longer than what is described, but it cannot be shorter.

Please note that as a real estate broker or sales representative, or a real estate developer, you have record keeping requirements in addition those described in this guidance. These additional requirements are detailed in the following Know your client guidance documents:

As a real estate broker or sale representative, you must keep the records listed below when you engage in the purchase or sale of real estate.

As a real estate developer, that is an individual or an entity, you must keep the records listed below when you sell to the public a new house, condominium unit, commercial or industrial building, or multi-unit residential building. If you are a real estate developer that is a corporation, you must keep the records listed below when you sell to the public a new house, condominium unit, commercial or industrial building, or multi-unit residential building if you are acting on your own behalf, or on behalf of a subsidiary or affiliate.

  1. Suspicious transaction report records
  2. Large cash transaction records
  3. Client information records
  4. Receipt of funds records
  5. Unrepresented party records
  6. Reasonable measures records

**Note: Exceptions to your record keeping requirements are listed in the last section of this guidance.

**Note: When recording the nature of the principal business or occupation of a client, you must be as descriptive as possible in order to be able to determine whether a transaction or activity is consistent with what would be expected for that client. For example, in the case of a person who is a manager, the occupation recorded should reflect the area of management, such as “hotel reservations manager” or “retail clothing store manager.” The same is true when recording the nature of the principal business of an entity. For example, in the case of an entity in the field of sales, the nature of the principal business should specify the type of sales, such as “pharmaceutical sales” or “retail sales”.

1. Suspicious transaction report records

If you submit a suspicious transaction report (STR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it. This includes STRs for completed and attempted transactions.

Retention: You must keep an STR for at least five years from the date the report was submitted.

2. Large cash transaction records

You must keep a record of every large cash transaction. A large cash transaction occurs when you receive $10,000 or more in cash from a client in a single transaction. A large cash transaction also occurs when there are multiple cash transactions of less than $10,000 each that total $10,000 or more within a 24-hour period, when you know they are conducted by, or on behalf of, the same individual or entity.

When a client conducts a large cash transaction, your record must indicate the receipt of an amount of $10,000 or more in cash, along with the following:

  • the name, date of birth and address of the individual from whom you received the cash, and the nature of their principal business or occupation;
  • the amount and currency of the cash received;
  • the date of the transaction;
  • the purpose and details of the transaction, including:
    • the type of transaction (for example, the cash was for a deposit on the purchase of a house, etc.); and
    • whether any other individuals or entities were involved in the transaction;
  • how the cash was received (for example, in person, by mail, by armoured car, or any other way); and
  • if an account was affected by the transaction, include:
    • the account number and type of account;
    • the full name of the account holder; and
    • the currency in which the account's transactions are conducted.

If an account was involved in the transaction, then information about the account needs to be included in the record. For example, you would need to include information about an account into which cash is deposited, such as the broker’s, the lawyer’s or the notary’s in-trust account.

Retention: You must keep large cash transaction records for at least five years from the date the record was created.

3. Client information records

If the client is an individual, you must record their name, address, and date of birth, as well as the nature of their principal business or occupation. If there is more than one individual purchasing or selling, you must keep a client information record about each individual.

If the client is an entity you must record the information about the individual conducting the transaction on behalf of the entity (i.e. name, address, date of birth and their principal business or occupation), as well as the entity’s name, address and nature of its principal business.

If the client is an entity that is a corporation, you must keep a copy of the part of the official corporate records showing the provisions relating to the power to bind the corporation regarding the transaction with you. This could be a certificate of incumbency, the articles of incorporation or the bylaws of the corporation that set out the officers duly authorized to sign on the behalf of the corporation, such as the president, treasurer, vice-president, or comptroller, etc.

If there were changes subsequent to the articles or bylaws that related to the power to bind the corporation regarding the transaction, and these changes were applicable at the time the transaction was conducted, then the board resolution stating the change needs to be included in the record.

Retention: You must keep client information records for five years from the day the last business transaction was conducted.

4. Receipt of funds records

When you receive funds (in cash or in another form), you must record: 

  • the name, date of birth and address of the individual who provided the funds, as well as their principal business or occupation;
  • the name, address and nature of their principal business if the funds are received from an entity;
  • the amount and currency of the funds received;
  • the date of the transaction;
  • the purpose and details of the transaction including:
    • the type and form of the transaction (for example, the cash was for a deposit on the purchase of a house, etc.); and
    • whether any other individuals or entities were involved in the transaction;
  • if the funds were received in cash, how the cash was received (for example, in person, by mail, by armoured car, or any other way); and
  • if an account was affected by the transaction (i.e. funds withdrawn from or deposited to an account), include the:
    • account number and type of account;
    • full name of the account holder; and
    • the currency in which the transaction was conducted.

If the receipt of funds record is about a client that is a corporation, you must also keep a copy of the part of the official corporate records that contains any provision relating to the power to bind the corporation regarding the transaction with you. Official corporate records can include a certificate of incumbency, the articles of incorporation or the bylaws of the corporation that set out the officers duly authorized to sign on the behalf of the corporation, such as the president, treasurer, vice-president, comptroller, etc.

If there were changes subsequent to the articles or bylaws that related to the power to bind the corporation regarding the transaction, and these changes were applicable at the time the transaction was conducted, then the board resolution stating the change needs to be included in this record.

If real estate brokers or sales representatives receive funds from a party represented by another real estate broker or sales representative, then it is the broker or sales representative that holds the relationship with the client who gives the funds that must keep the receipt of funds record. In this situation, the broker or sales representative must identify the individual or confirm the existence of the entity they are representing.

Retention: You must keep receipt of funds records for at least five years from the date the record was created.

5. Unrepresented party records

As a broker or sales representative involved in a real estate transaction, you have to take reasonable measures to verify the identity of unrepresented individuals and to confirm the existence of unrepresented entities. If you are not able to do so after taking reasonable measures, you will have to keep a record of the measures you took and of why you were unable to verify their identity or confirm their existence.

Retention: You must keep unrepresented party records for at least five years from the date the record was created.

6. Reasonable measures records

The term “reasonable measures” refers to activities you are expected to undertake in order to meet certain obligations. The PCMLTFA and associated Regulations explicitly state when you must take reasonable measures to meet an obligation.

As of June 17, 2017, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Regulations have been changed to require that a record be kept when reasonable measures were taken, but were unsuccessful. A reasonable measure is unsuccessful when you do not obtain a response, such as a yes or no, and you are unable to make a conclusive determination. Refer to section 67.3 of the Regulations for every activity where you are required to keep records when reasonable measures were unsuccessful.

When reasonable measures are unsuccessful, you must record the following information:

  • the measures taken;
  • the date on which the measure was taken; and
  • the reasons why the measures were unsuccessful.

You must outline the reasonable measures that you take in your compliance policies and procedures. This can form part of your unsuccessful reasonable measures record, or you could document, on a case-by-case basis, the measure taken in each record for unsuccessful reasonable measures.

For example, if you ask a client if they are conducting a large cash transaction on behalf of a third party and they refuse to answer your record must indicate that you asked, the date you asked and the fact that the client refused to answer yes or no.

Should you take a measure that is not included in your policies and procedures, you would have to include details of that measure taken in your record of unsuccessful reasonable measures.

Retention: You must keep records of your unsuccessful reasonable measures for at least five years following the date they were created.

Exceptions to record keeping requirements

If you are required to keep a record about information that is readily available in other records that you have kept, you do not have to record the same information again. This means that if you keep the required information and can produce it during a FINTRAC examination you do not need to create a new record to meet your obligations.

You are not required to keep a client information record or a receipt of funds record if the funds are received from a public body or very large corporation. This exception also applies to a subsidiary for either of those entities, if the financial statements of the subsidiary are consolidated with those of a public body or very large corporation.

You are not required to keep a large cash transaction record if the cash is received from a financial entity or a public body.

You are not required to keep a receipt of funds record if the funds are received from a financial entity or a public body.

You are not required to keep a receipt of funds record if you must keep a large cash transaction record for the same transaction.

You are not required to keep a receipt of funds record when you receive funds from a party that is represented by another real estate broker or representative. The broker or sales representative of that party is required to keep the record.

As a real estate broker or sales representative that is required to keep a receipt of funds record for funds received from your client by another real estate broker or sales representative, you are not required to record the account number or the full name of the account holder for any in-trust account held by another real estate broker or sales representative.

As a real estate broker or sales representative that is required to keep a receipt of funds record for funds received from your client by another real estate broker or sales representative, you are not required to record the account number, type of account that is affected by the transaction, and the full name of the account holder only if you have taken reasonable measures but were unable to obtain the information.

March 2021 

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

  • the date you received the cash;
  • for any person involved in the transaction (including the person from whom you received the cash), their name, address, date of birth, and occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business;
  • for any entity involved in the transaction (including the entity from which you received the cash), their name, address and nature of their principal business;
  • the type and amount of each fiat currency involved in the receipt;
  • the purpose of the transaction (for example, the cash was used to purchase a condominium unit, etc.);
  • the method by which you received the cash (for example, in person, by mail, etc.);
  • the exchange rates used and their source (if applicable);
  • if an account was affected by the transaction, include:
    • the account number and type of account (for example, business, personal, etc.); and
    • the name of each account holder;
  • every reference number connected to the transaction that is meant to be similar to an account number;
  • the following details about the remittance (i.e. the disposition) of, or exchange for, the cash received:
    • the method of remittance (for example, real estate purchase, deposit, etc);
    • if the remittance is not in funds, the type of remittance (for example, real estate purchase, deposit, etc.) and value if different from the amount received in cash; and
    • the name of every person or entity involved in the remittance, their account number or policy number. If there is no account or policy number, their identifying number.

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

  • the date you received the VC;
  • for any person involved in the transaction (including the person from whom you received the VC), their name, address, date of birth, and their occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business;
  • if any entity is involved in the transaction (including the entity from which you received the VC), their name, address and the nature of their principal business;
  • the type and amount of each VC involved in the receipt;
  • the exchange rates used and their source;
  • if an account was affected by the transaction, include:
    • the account number and type of account; and
    • the name of each account holder;
  • every reference number connected to the transaction that is meant to be similar to an account number; and
  • every transaction identifier (this may include a transaction hash or a similar identifier, if applicable), and every sending and receiving address.

Retention: At least five years from the date the large virtual currency 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

  • the date you received the funds;
  • if the amount is received from a person, their name, address, date of birth and their occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business;
  • if the amount is received from or on behalf of an entity, its name, address and the nature of its principal business;
  • the amount of funds received and the amount of any part of the funds that is received in cash;
  • the method by which the amount is received (for example, in person, by mail, etc.);
  • the type and amount of each fiat currency involved in the receipt;
  • the exchange rates used and their source (if applicable);
  • if an account was affected by the transaction (for example, funds withdrawn from or deposited to an account), include:
    • the account number and type of account; and
    • the name of each account holder;
  • if other persons are involved in the transaction, their name, address, date of birth, and the nature of their principal business (in the case of a sole proprietor) or occupation;
  • if other entities are involved in the transaction, their name, address and the nature of their principal business;
  • every reference number connected to the transaction that is meant to be similar to an account number; and
  • the purpose of the transaction.

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:

  • the articles of incorporation; or
  • the bylaws of the corporation that set out the officers duly authorized to sign on behalf of the corporation, such as the president, treasurer, vice-president, comptroller, etc.

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

  • the account number;
  • the type of account that is affected by the transaction;
  • the full name of the account holder; or
  • the reference number for the transaction.

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:

  • the articles of incorporation; or
  • the bylaws of the corporation that set out the officers duly authorized to sign on the behalf of the corporation, such as the president, treasurer, vice-president, or comptroller, etc.

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 the client is a person, their name, address, date of birth and occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business; or
  • if the client is an entity, its name, address and the nature of its principal business.

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

  • a public body;
  • a very large corporation or trust; or
  • a subsidiary of those entities, if the financial statements of the subsidiary are consolidated with those of the public body, very large corporation or trust.

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: