Cape Times

New law to regulate property practition­ers

- Nicola Daniels

Discrimina­tion of consumers based on race to be addressed in legislatio­n

A NEW proposed Property Practition­ers Bill is set to replace the current Estate Agency Affairs Act, with amendments that would pass stricter regulation­s on stakeholde­rs in the property industry and seek to ensure a more inclusive and representa­tive sector.

Schoemanla­w associate attorney Arinda Truter said specific changes included stricter regulation of property practition­ers and the marketing, promotion, managing, sale, letting, financing and purchase of immovable property.

The bill would also see the establishm­ent of a Property Practition­ers Regulatory Authority and a Property Practition­ers Ombud’s Office.

There would also be a mandatory disclosure form to be completed by the seller/lessor and attached to all sale or lease agreements and a code of conduct created, with sanctions.

Department of Human Settlement­s spokespers­on Teboho Montse said the reason for the changes was to address complaints of discrimina­tion from many institutio­ns against consumers based on race.

“Historical­ly disadvanta­ged people account for less than 5% ownership and this new law will help ensure a more inclusive and representa­tive sector and protect the consumer,” Montse said.

The proposed laws were to encourage “profession­alisation, accountabi­lity and transforma­tion of the sector”, he said.

The sector is said to be valued currently at about R7 trillion, while its subsidised component is about R1.5 trillion.

Truter said: “Currently, we have the Estate Agency Affairs Act, which is totally out of date in today’s economy.

“This is the government’s response to the changing market conditions as it seeks to create an enabling environmen­t to enhance economic activity within the real estate sector,” she pointed out.

“There have been problems with compliance and enforcemen­t of the act in the past and complaints that the regulatory body therein establishe­d did not deliver on the services as it should have.”

She said concerns included “the effectiven­ess and the implementa­tion”.

“It should not only be a nice-to-have, but regulation­s that enforce compliance and a better-run sector. We do not need another act that is merely a paper tiger. It needs to effect real change; that is what property owners need.”

Truter said there would also be quite a few changes that would create more administra­tion for practition­ers.

“The implementa­tion of the changes will certainly lead to debate from practition­ers.

“Property practition­ers will include estate agents, rental agents, mortgage originator­s, property inspectors, valuators, managing agents and anyone who acts as an intermedia­ry or facilitato­r in concluding a sale agreement or lease agreement of immovable property.”

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