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Thursday Jun 29, 2017

New law to regulate property practitioners

A new proposed Property Practitioners Bill is set to replace the current Estate Agency Affairs Act.

It will include amendments to 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Truter said: "Currently, we have the Estate Agency Affairs Act, which is totally out of date in today's economy.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."

Cape Times

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