Property Practitioners Act welcomed by Estate Agents

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“Economy / 4 October 2019, 08:30am / Edward West

CAPE TOWN – The Property Practitioners Act of 2019 signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa was on Thursday broadly welcomed by estate agents, but did not adequately define how transformation should take place in the industry.

The Act, signed on Wednesday, repeals the 43-year-old Estate Agency Affairs Act of 19, and is aimed at improving the functioning of the property market, which includes regulating the buying, selling and renting of land and buildings.

It aims to put in place better monitoring mechanisms, including requiring inspectors to obtain warrants to enter premises.

It was also aimed at ensuring “seamless processes and professional standards in the real estate industry, said South African Housing and Infrastructure Fund (SAHIF) chief executive Rali Mampeule.

He said the Act was “a progressive step in the right direction for the country and it will play a crucial role in addressing other issues within the industry”.

Among other innovations, the Act establishes a Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority and provides for the appointment of the board of this authority. This will be the continuation of the Estate Agency Affairs Board.

Seeff Property Group chairman Sammuel Seeff said his initial feeling was the new Act should be welcomed, but he had some reservations about aspects of it.

These were that while the preamble stated the Act should aid transformation, there was very little in the way of practical measures to do so in the Act itself.

A problem in the estate agent industry in the past has been its ability to attract and retain black estate agents, and there was no assistance or incentives for the industry in the Act.

Adding to the uncertainty was the targeted levels of black economic empowerment (BEE) in the industry, as the regulations on BEE in the industry had not yet been finalised, he said.

Another aspect that might be challenged in future was the fact that the definition of a property practitioner in the Act was far too wide, said Seeff.

A  spokesperson for RE/MAX Southern Africa said their management would only comment on the new Act once they had an opportunity to scrutinise it, as the bill had gone through a great number of revisions from various industry players before being made into law.

The Act was introduced to the National Assembly in June 2018 and was passed by the National Assembly in December. The National Council of Provinces also gave it a thumbs up on March 28.”

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