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Wednesday Sep 26, 2012

Bid to clamp down on illegal estate agents

The embattled Estate Agencies' Affairs Board (EAAB) has increased its fidelity trust to R589 million, according to its annual report tabled in Parliament yesterday.

The report paints a picture of a struggling board, which prompted Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale to place it under administration last month.

Estate agencies and individual realtors contribute to the fund, which makes payouts to complainants when cases of wrongdoing are brought to the board.

The annual report showed claims on the fund had increased to R10.4m.

"The board approved R3.8m, and rejected claims of R2.5m, while claims of R4m are pending," EAAB chief executive Bryan Chaplog said.

He said an in-house inspectorate would be established to ensure there were no unregistered agents working, and that those legally operating played by the rule book.

"Specific concern is that there were 301 primary trust account contraventions out of a total of 652 inspections conducted."

Chaplog said the board's inspection statistics showed that 100 estate agencies were operating illegally, and that there had been several contraventions of the code of conduct.

The breaches related to sole mandates, lease agreements, sale agreements and contracts.

The number of disciplinary procedures instituted against agents had also increased, from 172 in the 2010/11 financial year to 214 by April. In the 214 procedures, there were 140 guilty findings and 32 acquittals. The other 42 cases were pending.

Last month, Sexwale appointed lawyer Taswell Papier as administrator of the EAAB, to clean it up.


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