"Overseas entities owning UK land will be required to register details of those who hold, directly or indirectly, more than 25% of the shares or voting rights, those who can appoint or remove a majority of the board or those who have the ability to exercise significant influence or control over the entity. Failure to register will be a criminal offence for both the entity and its officers. The land in respect of which the requirements apply is freehold and leases for a term of seven years or more (different criteria apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland)."
Interestingly enough, this bill may end up supplementing the Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) initiative that was incorporated into UK law in January 2018 as part of the Criminal Finances Act 2017. It is a type of court order issued to compel someone to reveal the sources of their unexplained wealth related to assets that are worth more than £50,000. UWO provides regulators and law enforcement more tools to combat tax evasion, money laundering and terrorism financing.
UWO is somewhat similar to the U.S. Geographic Targeting Orders in detecting the use of high-value assets as tools for illicit activity or financial concealment. The UK has recently seen effects on foreign purchases of real estate that mirror the reduction in cash-for-property transactions in South Florida.
Under the Registration of Overseas Entities Bill, it is proposed that if the beneficial owner or controller of an overseas entity that owns UK land has not registered their identity at Companies House, a restriction will be placed on the title that will prohibit that entity from selling, leasing or mortgaging that land. There will be an 18-month transition period for those overseas entities that already hold UK land. Under the current "People with Significant Control" (PSC) regime, all UK companies already have to register the identity of controllers and beneficial owners with more than 25% ownership at Companies House.