Bleak Christmas for thousands of agents

Dec 12, 2018 | Local Property

“This created a bottleneck before the end of the year leaving thousands of people without certificates in the new year.”

More than 3000 agents, deregistered for non-compliance with CPD requirements for the 2015-2017 cycle, currently face going into the new year without fidelity fund certificates and many are having an uphill battle to get this rectified.

In September approximately 4 300 estate agents were informed by the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) that they are disqualified due to their failure to comply with mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements for the 2015-2017 cycle. This meant the affected agents could not be issued with a valid fidelity fund certificate (FFC) for the 2019 calendar year unless, and until, they had resolved the matter with the Board.

According to EAAB spokesperson Bongani Mlangeni the Board have since received some 2000 applications for FFC’s from this group of deregistered agents, but only approximately 800 of these applications were found to be compliant and were approved and these agents will be issued with an FFC for 2019.

That leaves around 3500 agents without the mandatory FFC to conduct business as a registered estate agent in the new year. (Take note this number is approximate as the Board is daily receiving new applications says Mlangeni).

The EAAB received more than 3 000 queries, whether received on-line, through walk-ins or via referrals. According to Mlangeni these queries have all been responded to and the applicants advised of the correct process to be followed.

EAAB systems taking strain

The notice of deregistration, unfortunately, coincided with the renewal period for FFC’s further placing the regulating body’s strained systems under more pressure. On social media platforms agents have sorely complained about the lack of service delivery from the EAAB on this matter. Industry body, Rebosa, has been inundated with complaints from agents about lack of feedback after making queries on the right procedure to follow or even submitting FFC applications.

Says Jan le Roux, CE of Rebosa: “It is most unfortunate that the EAAB waited until this late in the year to eventually apply the rules as the cancellation of so many certificates coincided with the registration period.

“This created a bottleneck before the end of the year leaving thousands of people without certificates in the new year. If this was done earlier in the year, as the Board originally indicated they would, there would have been more time to address the issues.

Not that that is the only challenge, as systems at the EAAB are under pressure, phone calls are not answered, emails are not responded to and in general disqualified agents are facing an almost insurmountable task to get it rectified.”

Make sure correct procedure is followed

According to Mlangeni the EAAB also experienced that many potential applicants neglected to follow the instructions to lodge applications to be reregistered with the Board. Common errors include: queries addressed to the incorrect department; applications made via e-mails (not considered a valid form of application) instead of an affidavit (duly deposed to before a commissioner of oaths) and failure to use the EAAB online query system.

“Since applications of this nature are not compliant with established requirements, they cannot be considered by the EAAB. The applicants concerned are apprised of the correct procedures to be implemented to this end, which frequently results in further delays in the finalisation of such matters,” says Mlangeni.

He continues there have also been cases where, even though the condonation applications were approved, it was found that the applicants won’t immediately be eligible to be issued with fidelity fund certificates for 2019. This happened where either the estate agency concerned failed to comply with statutory audit requirements, or where estate agents failed to timeously renew their fidelity fund certificates for the following year.

Says Mlangeni, “It is, as a result, not possible for the EAAB to draw any direct correlation between the number of estate agents who have been unblocked for CPD non-compliance reasons and those who have actually been issued with fidelity fund certificates for the 2019 calendar year.”

In closing, Mlangeni notes that estate agents had more than three years during the 2015 to 2017 CPD cycle to comply with their CPD obligations for that period. These persons, when applying for condonation, must ensure that they follow the correct processes and procedures to obtain the necessary assistance to remediate the non-compliance.

Jan le Roux warns: “The second 3-year cycle, 2016- 2018, concludes at 31 December 2018. Agents should ensure compliance to prevent a repeat of these unfortunate circumstances”.

How to log a query on deregistration due to CPD non-compliance:

You have to log a query online on the EAAB website where you will find a link that you have to click to submit your query.

If you have logged a query and are struggling to get feedback, you can also send an email to info@rebosa.co.za to ask them to assist you.

Take note: The EAAB office will officially close on 21 December and only reopen on 2 January 2019.

Related articles: EAAB gets tough on CPD non-compliance

Industry divided on CPD disqualifications

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