Bill of­fers wins and pos­si­ble losses to play­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

PRO­POSED changes in the draft Prop­erty Prac­ti­tion­ers Bill about what Fidelity Fund in­surance can be used for could increase risks to con­sumers want­ing to buy and sell prop­erty.

This is the view of Bradley Han­cock, KwaZulu-Natal regional bro­ker sub-com­mit­tee chair­man of the SA Prop­erty Own­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion in KZN. The bill is sched­uled to be pro­mul­gated be­fore the end of the year.

Fidelity Fund in­surance is cur­rently used to set­tle claims against all es­tate agents, says Han­cock. The bill also makes pro­vi­sion for these monies to be used to pay claims for mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of trust monies by li­censed agents.

The bill states that Fidelity Fund in­surance money should also be chan­nelled to­wards grants for black em­pow­er­ment and ed­u­ca­tion.

“These funds would have to be closely mon­i­tored to en­sure they go to those who re­ally want to become es­tate agents, not to any­one who hap­pens to qual­ify for a Learn­er­ship 18.2 bur­sary in terms of cur­rent Ser­vicesSETA cri­te­ria,” Han­cock says. The Ser­vicesSETA qual­i­fy­ing cri­te­ria re­quire the re­cip­i­ent to be black, un­em­ployed and un­der 33.

Han­cock there are many ea­ger would-be es­tate agents want­ing to join the in­dus­try – and who would ex­cel in it – but who do not fall within the cur­rent qual­i­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ments for a learn­er­ship bur­sary.

De­spite his con­cerns, Han­cock says the bill con­tains good pro­vi­sions and was over­due in many re­spects. He agrees with ad­vo­cate De­bra Vial of the Es­tate Agents Af­fairs Board that given the size of the prop­erty mar­ket – its value is es­ti­mated at R7.9 tril­lion and it con­trib­utes some 8% to the coun­try’s GDP – it is es­sen­tial the en­tire prop­erty sec­tor be trans­formed.

Vial says the bill, if en­acted, will pro­mote con­sumer ed­u­ca­tion and em­pow­er­ment and will pro­fes­sion­alise the real es­tate in­dus­try.

Janet Alexan­der, chief ex­ec­u­tive of on­line real es­tate train­ing com­pany PropA­cademy, says ed­u­ca­tion of agents will still be reg­u­lated by the Es­tate Agents Af­fairs Board.

“Ed­u­ca­tion in­cludes all ver­i­fied and non-ver­i­fied Con­tin­ued Pro­fes­sional De­vel­op­ment (CPD).”

Alexan­der says the process of be­com­ing a fully qual­i­fied es­tate agent could take be­tween two and three years. The board re­quires any per­son en­ter­ing the prop­erty in­dus­try – an in­tern – to pro­duce a log­book which is a record of their first 12 months in the in­dus­try. This en­sures the in­tern is able to per­form func­tions re­quired to pro­fes­sion­ally deal in prop­erty.

Dur­ing this 12-month pe­riod the in­tern must also:

Study to ob­tain the South African Qual­i­fi­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (SAQA) NQF4 qual­i­fi­ca­tion. There­after a cer­tifi­cate of com­pe­tency is is­sued by Ser­vicesSETA.

Once this has been earned, the in­tern must write the Pro­fes­sional Des­ig­nated Exam Level 4 (PDE4) set by the board.

Only then does the in­di­vid­ual ob­tain Full Sta­tus Fidelity Fund Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Alexan­der says the board “has an ex­cel­lent data­base which keeps track of agents who may be non-com­pli­ant with the con­di­tions re­quired for their on­go­ing reg­is­tra­tion as es­tate agents”.

This could, for ex­am­ple, in­clude not keep­ing abreast of their CPD re­quire­ments. As a re­sult, non-com­pli­ant es­tate agents may find their ap­pli­ca­tions for their next Fidelity Fund Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion blocked. Non-com­pli­ant sell­ing or leas­ing agents and their agency are not en­ti­tled to re­ceive com­mis­sion from sell­ers or lan­dords.

Other im­por­tant as­pects of the bill in­clude broad­en­ing the def­i­ni­tion of an es­tate agent to in­clude all persons who deal in prop­erty for gain, in­clud­ing bond orig­i­na­tors, bridg­ing fi­nancers and val­u­a­tors. The sher­iff of the court and can­di­date at­tor­neys, who may be in­volved in prop­erty trans­ac­tions, are specif­i­cally ex­cluded.

Other cat­e­gories of peo­ple who are ex­cluded from be­com­ing es­tate agents have been broad­ened to in­clude non-cit­i­zens or un­law­ful res­i­dents, peo­ple found guilty of con­tra­ven­tions of the Act in the pre­ced­ing five years and those with­out a tax clear­ance cer­tifi­cate. The bill also makes pro­vi­sion for the ap­point­ment of an om­buds­man who will have pow­ers of me­di­a­tion and ad­ju­di­ca­tion over mat­ters in­clud­ing in­ter-agent dis­putes. - SAPOA KZN


The process of study­ing to become a qual­i­fied es­tate agent could take be­tween two and three years.

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