The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) has announced that non-executive directors of estate agencies need no longer comply with the educational requirements applicable to estate agents. Until now, all directors of limited companies trading as estate agents had to comply with stringent requirements, including an internship, obtaining NQF4 and NQF5 qualifications, and passing the professional designation exam.

To many directors, especially in the bigger agencies who have nothing to do with the practice of being an estate agent, these prerequisites were unnecessarily problematic. It also inhibited investors. Business people inclined to invest in real estate companies could do so as shareholders, but never serve on boards of companies they might own themselves (unless they complied with all of the above), which was an unattractive proposition.

Transformation was subdued at the same time; black entrepreneurs/investors had to find other investment opportunities or comply with all the educational requirements if they wanted to invest in real estate companies and direct it themselves.

BREAKTHROUGH FOR BUSINESS AND TRANSFORMATION

According to Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA), this move by the EAAB is a breakthrough for business and transformation. It does still involve an application and paperwork in that directors have to apply, and pay R2,500, to have the application evaluated. Exemption is forfeited if such director’s circumstances should change.

Says Jan le Roux, CEO of REBOSA: “This should apply to any directors (not only non-executive) not involved in selling real estate or supervising agents doing so. Abolition of this requirement could open the door for highly qualified individuals to become involved in the industry. We are hopeful that the situation will be addressed in a more streamlined fashion in the Property Practitioners Bill about to be published. The Bill should actually make it clear that directors who do not practice as estate agents need not meet the educational requirements of estate agents without having to apply for this privilege. Needless to say, it makes perfect sense that at least one director in a company must meet all educational and trainee requirements.”