Jeopardising the Safety of Real Estate Agents
In recent months, yet another tragedy concerning a real estate agent has taken place outside a development that was for sale. This was not a fight or a case of harassment, but something even more lethal. An 18-year-old young man was giving out flyers regarding the new development on the streets when he was hit by a minibus and subsequently sustained severe brain injuries. According to witnesses, the site of the occurrence is no stranger to dangerous car accidents. At the time, someone was driving on the opposite side of the street and about to enter the development site. In a bid to get the attention of this potential customer before other agents, the young man ignored incoming traffic and tried to cross the road, thus putting himself in grave danger. Given that it's common practice these days for real estate agencies to send their staff out on the streets to sell new developments, I'm afraid that what has happened will not be an isolated incident, and unfortunately may happen again.
This old-school sales practice is extremely problematic. Street space is limited, which cultivates hostility amongst agents that can lead to verbal and physical conflicts. More importantly, by chasing customers in traffic, agents put their personal safety at great risk as well as that of others. In addition, many of these young agents are unlicensed workers. Tempted by attractive commission yet with little knowledge of what they are doing, they can easily fall victim to the dangers of street sales. It is their agencies and management that should be held accountable for the unsafe work environment in which their agents have to operate.
In the past few years, a large number of real estate professionals—myself included—have asked the Estate Agents Authority to strengthen law enforcement. However, the authority's only requirement is for unlicensed agents to get proper licensing before selling real estate, but it has failed to enforce even this most basic regulation as the majority of unlicensed agents are still working without getting into any trouble—and so I ask, where exactly is its ‘authority'?
This practice of unregulated street sales is getting out of control. I have yet again suggested the authority ban agencies from using this operational model. If this problem does not get solved, it will only be a matter of time until an innocent youngster loses their life at the hands of an unethical agency.