‘‘No FFC No commission’ wrong title for our campaign’

‘‘No FFC No commission’ wrong title for our campaign’

MAIN IMAGE: Romy Tarboton, principal of Signature Real Estate.

Signature Real Estate is officially proceeding with their appeal against the ‘No FFC No commission’ ruling – an widely supported action that has also met with some opposition from some of their fellow agents. Principal Romy Tarboton says in hindsight a better title for the ruling would have been ‘High Court rules: Estate agent liable for EAAB inefficiency’.

Last month Tarboton announced they launched a crowdfunding campaign to fight the Cape High Court ruling that stated a estate agent or agency aren’t legally entitled to claim commission if they weren’t in possession of a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC) at the time of the transaction – irrespective of proof the agency may have that they applied correctly and timeously for a renewal with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB).

It is an unfortunate fact that the regulating authority continues to experience capacity constraints to process the thousands of applications they receive annually for FFC renewals. If the EAAB is unsuccessful to resolve the current backlog, come 1 January 2020 there will again be many agents without valid FFCs and, in accordance with the mentioned High Court ruling, they will then not be able to legally trade and earn a living.

Tarboton says so far they have raised R22 500 through the fund which has allowed them to file Heads of Arguments. They currently await the written court date from the registrar.

“We would not have been able to have gotten this far without the incredible support of our peers. Signature wishes to thank each and every contributor! We still have a way to go in so far as the financing of the appeal is concerned but we have raised enough funds to take the next step,” she says.

Tarboton answers questions about the campaign

There has been an attempt to discredit their campaign on social media platforms says Tarboton and this has caused some confusion as to the purpose of the campaign. Here are her answers to the most important questions raised.

The aim of the campaign is to reverse the ‘No FFC No commission’ ruling. Why?

Let me begin by stating that calling the ruling ‘No FFC No Commission’ has been confusing to some of our fellow agents. In hindsight a better ‘title’ would have been ‘High Court rules: Estate agent is liable for EAAB inefficiency’ which would have been a more apt description of what transpired.

Our goal is that the court acknowledge that we had proven that our agency had fulfilled all the legal requirements to apply for a new FFC timeously; and therefore, should be entitled to commission. In other words, we were not at fault, and yet, commission was withheld from us since the EAAB incorrectly issued our FFC in the wrong name. The entire point of having this ruling reversed is so that the EAAB’s inefficiency does not prejudice another fellow agent/agency. The ruling, as it stands, makes the agent responsible for admitted errors on the part of the EAAB. Anyone who has been an agent for a reasonable amount of time can testify to the EAAB’s tardy nature, therefore, as it now stands if the EAAB fails to deliver or for whatever reason, an agent is not in possession of their FFC timeously (or it is printed incorrectly through no fault of their own), they cannot legally receive payment.

Won’t this benefit unregistered agents operating without FFCs?

Absolutely not! Even if we are successful it would not mean that those who have not complied can trade illegally. Signature is in no way advocating for estate agents trading without licence. Signature is 10 years old next year and have held a valid FFC for the last 10 years. We very much believe in regulating the industry and ensuring professional compliance.

Why a crowdfunding campaign?

The cost of litigation is immense, and we decided that since this ruling has the potential to sincerely effect every estate agent/agency in South Africa, why not ask our peers for assistance? Our view was that together we can make a difference and it was about time someone took a stance and championed for agents as a whole. I am incredibly passionate about my work and about the real estate industry in general.

How transparent is the campaign?

Signature has absolutely nothing to hide. The donations are reflected publicly on the Click n Donate Crowdfunding website or paid directly into an attorney trust. I receive a weekly financial report to see what donations have been made. We are keeping records of all income, as well as payments made directly to our legal team who provide us with detailed statements outlining what their invoices are made up of.

The ruling is a matter of public record so anyone wanting to read about the merits of the actual case we are appealing may do so. I have emailed the judgment on the leave to appeal to anyone who has asked, so that once again, people may see exactly what our counsel argued for which resulted in leave to appeal being granted. On that note it may be important to reiterate here again that the reason this matter was granted leave to appeal at Supreme Court level, was because there are conflicting judgments which the Supreme Court of Appeal and a full bench must rectify. The judge decided this, not Signature.

Any further queries may be directed to Romy Tarboton on email romy@signaturerealestate.co.za .

Showing 2 comments
  • Mike Spencer

    it is about time that agents held the EAAB liable for its inefficiency. If you have applied for your certificate, and have complied with payment and audits then if not issued with a certificate by EAAB and you lose commission, sue the EAAB for damages.

  • Engela Vlok

    Mike this is a disaster, I have send numerous emails log queries make phone calls to EAAB without any success.
    I represent a lot of agent to do the necessary each year to contact EAAB to issue there FFC and other queries to solve them for the agents at the EAAB.
    The standard answers on all queries is first send your proof of payment then that was already done on the query that was loge and in a email to the EAAB.
    Then they say they did not receive it please send again.

    The second reply The IT department will be internal informed to update what ever the query may be.

    Third reply the financial department is still busy to update the payments and link it to your reference number.

    Four All documents has been received wait 48 hours then the query will be solved. Then you wait 48 weeks and it still nothing has been done.

    I have wrote a letter to the minister Mark Le Roy regarding this matter asking what can we do, he replied back after a week and said they did not even answer his email.
    The EAAB can just be honest with agents they expects that from our agents in their code of conduct but they do not respect there own set of rules.

    I rely do not blame the agents that work elegal because everybody is fat up with a board that are suppose to protect and ad hear agents grieve but they are absolute useless and not competent to do there job.

    The solution is that each province have there own Office and operate on there own the set of rules stay the same. There is now way that the quality and quantity staff they hire can manage the thousands of agents.

    I also believe from inside information that the EAAB flag agents that lose there temper and that make a lot of inpatient queries. I am surely one of them I though maybe that is the reason why i do not get service or support at all from EAAB but I see know this is a overall problem to all agents.

    For those agents that did receive there FFC for 2020 congrats for you.

    What about the new Property Practitioners Bill WHY ARE THE EAAB STILL BLOCK AGENTS WHEN A PRINCIPAL HAVE MORE THAN 1 AGENCY UNDER HIS/HER NAME. Reason that one of the agencies financials statements is still not submitted by the auditor. Why do they penalize the agents for that. I would say the principal is the only one that need to be blocked and the agents must continue with there effort to earn a income.

    I hope that there is anyone out there that can support the agents regarding this non existing service of the EAAB. Surely there must be a identity the EAAB report to and must investigate this issue all agents have .

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