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Candidate practitioners being overcharged for their FCC renewal?

MAIN IMAGE: Jim Alexander, Mossel Bay Area Manager at Property Time

In September 2022 many candidate practitioners received an email from the PPRA regarding the renewal of their FFCs (Fidelity Fund Certificates). In the specific case of a candidate practitioner from Property Time, the email indicated that there had been an invoicing error and that many candidates were wrongly charged a fee of R1,540 when it should in fact have been R2,340 and requested a top up payment of R800, or else the FFC would not be issued (this was an obvious implication although not stated as such in their email).

The justification for this increase was made on the basis that the candidate had received 2 FFCs. The problem with this?  It’s not a question of certificates, but of years.

What does the PPRA payment schedule say?

The PPRA has issued several payment schedules which are all essentially the same, the critical difference being that in 3rd (and latest) schedule issued, the distinction is more clearly made between a candidate who has been such for LESS THAN 2 YEARS and one who has been one for MORE THAN 2 YEARS.

According to the renewal notice published on the PPRA website, the payment structure is split as follows:

  1. A candidate property practitioner of LESS THAN 2 YEARS = R1540 and,
  2. A candidate property practitioner more than 2 years = R2340.

What does the Act say?

Regulation 15 of the Property Practitioner Act states the following:

Fees payable under the act

15.1 Every property practitioner who is a natural person shall –

15.1.1 as of the calendar year 2020, pay to the Authority a levy of R 2 340 set for the period of 3 years; or

15.1.2 in the alternative, if so permitted by the Authority, pay R780 per annum.

15.2 A candidate property practitioner as defined in the Act shall

15.2.1 pay R380 in each year of his/her candidacy period; and

15.2.2 where the candidacy period has exceeded two years, the candidate property practitioner shall pay the same levy applicable to every property practitioner mentioned in 15.1.1 or 15.1.2.

15.3 Every property practitioner who is a natural person shall, upon first becoming registered as a property practitioner pay to the Property Practitioners Fidelity Fund (“the Fidelity Fund”) a contribution of R 400.

Back to the case of the Property Time candidate practitioner, Mossel Bay Area Manager at Property Time, Jim Alexander, explains that upon approaching the PPRA about the R2,340 amount his candidate was charged, he was told that it was due because the candidate agent had more than 2 FFCs (in fact she had been issued with her first FFC in August 2021 and her second in January 2022, so over a period of 19 months as of 31 December 2022.) However, she clearly hadn’t been a candidate practitioner for more than two years.

This scenario poses a few questions:

  1. How did the two-year period stated in Regulation 15 become two FFCs? (The fact that FFCs are issued annually cannot explain this).
  2. Having correctly understood the fees difference between candidate property practitioners and property practitioners (full status) and drawn up the above fees schedule accordingly, on what basis was it changed, if it has in fact changed?
  3. The email sent to the candidates informing them of the supposed invoicing error states that it affected many others. How many others? Many others multiplied by R800 is a lot of money.

To date the PPRA has not responded to queries about the interpretation of the regulation and what would seem to be an error of overcharging candidate practitioners. Candidates and their principals are encouraged to lodge a complaint with the PPRA using this link.

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