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Thursday Feb 17, 2022

Enforced compliance to new property act is a game changer

The new Property Practitioners Act (PPA) came into effect on 1 February and, whilst the tightening up on legislation largely concerns agents and agencies and how they conduct business, consumers also need to understand the implications of these changes, especially those in relation to compliance.

'Sadly, for many years, our industry has not always had the best reputation and members of the general public have all too often, and with good reason, complained about the service they have received," says Steve Thomas, Secure Estate Specialists for Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty in Cape Town's Southern Suburbs.

'However, they can now rest assured in the knowledge that many of their concerns have been addressed and have been remedied through new stringent and well-conceptualised laws which very effectively curtail the root cause."

Thomas and partner Secure Estate Specialist, David Burger, believe that the vast majority of registered and certified property practitioners are proudly professional and strive to offer the best possible service and that, being equipped and knowledgeable enough to navigate the multitude of potential pitfalls, they are usually able to do so.

'The real issues generally arise when un-registered agencies and uncertified agents are allowed to operate within this arena because not only are they lacking the credentials and often also the experience and skills, when things do go wrong, the client has very little recourse.

'As of 1 February, not only were un-registered agencies unable to operate legally, all agents and the agency itself must be registered with the PPRA and hold valid Fidelity Fund Certificates (FFCs).

'Additionally, all FFCs must be displayed and/or produced on demand as well as on all company headed branding."

The new act further enforces compliance by barring conveyancing attorneys from paying commission to unregistered agents and agencies.

'If an unregistered agent or agency offers cheap commission in order to secure a mandate, but ultimately cannot legally be paid, they will have no means of marketing a client's property," adds Thomas.

And, as all un-qualified (but registered) practitioners must now present themselves as interns in training and may not conclude legal transactions, there is far less chance of costly and stressful incidences occurring.

Consumers are even further protected by the following measures:

Property Practitioners may only market properties which are mandated (in writing) by the registered owner;

All mandates must have a commencement and an end date;

Any extensions to mandates must be in writing to be deemed valid;

No mandate may be considered valid unless there is a written property condition report signed by the owner(s) prior to marketing.
'The new act is welcomed by the industry and the long-overdue regulatory enforcement to our profession is seen as a massive and necessary step toward regularising the services offered to the general public and to the clients we serve, whilst also extending the necessary protection." say Thomas and Burger.
'And with these safeguards now in place, consumers are urged to consider the importance of engaging only with fully legal, compliant property professionals as it not only ensures managed risk and relatively stress-free transactions, but in the unlikely event that something does go wrong, they have access to full recourse.
'At the end of the day, it's a win-win for all concerned – for the consumer who can more confidently embark on the process of purchasing or selling what is probably their largest investment and a dynamic industry and hard-working professionals need no longer be tainted by unethical practitioners."


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