10 things you should know about proposed changes to the Property Practitioners Bill
The Bill would extend the deﬁnition of an estate agent to a property practitioner, which could include bank employees, bond originators and building caretakers. This wider deﬁnition will mean the EAAB (the authority in future) will be inundated.
The introduction of an ombudsman, who in turn can appoint a mediator. There could be a faster resolution of conﬂ icts but it also leads to vast powers with overlapping and unclear jurisdictions.
3. COMPOSITION OF THE BOARD
The number of board members would be reduced to a maximum of 12. The Minister can and will appoint at least one person with knowledge of the industry.
Inspectors would have vast powers of inspection and the ability to seize documents and records.
5. FIDELITY FUND
The Bill proposes that consumers only be protected against the theft of trust funds from the trust account of a regular estate agent.
6. FIDELITY FUND CERTIFICATES
The current Act stipulates that an estate agent must be “issued” with a Fidelity Fund Certiﬁcate to earn commission. The new Bill refers to “possession”.
7. TRUST ACCOUNTS
Currently all estate agencies must have trust accounts. The Bill alleviates this somewhat by giving the Minister the authority to grant exemptions – but it does not go far enough.
All directors of companies and members of closed corporations will have to be registered as principals and thereby be qualiﬁ ed to be principals. Currently the EAAB allows nonexecutive directors to apply for exemption from qualiﬁ cation as principals.
9. TAX CLEARANCE
The Bill requires that all agents (not just agencies) submit tax clearance certiﬁcates annually. This could burden SARS and agents in dispute could be refused registration.
10. BEE CERTIFICATES
All agents – not just agencies – will be obligated to submit BEE certiﬁcates. The problem: no conditions have been stipulated.
Source: Jan le Roux, CEO of Rebosa