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Parliament Briefed on Property Practitioners Bill

July 4, 2018

Department of Human Settlements

Parliament was recently briefed on the Property Practitioners Bill.

The bill was tabled in parliament in June 2018.

Comment was sought on the draft bill in April 2017.

The bill seeks to:

• provide for the regulation of property practitioners;
• provide for the continuation of the Estate Agency Affairs Board as the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority;
• provide for the appointment of the members of the Board and matters incidental thereto;
• provide for the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer and other staff members of the Authority;
• provide for the establishment, appointment, powers and functions of the Property Practitioner’s Ombud Office;
• provide for compliance with and enforcement of the provisions of the Act;
• provide for the continuation of the Estate Agents Fidelity Fund as the Property Practitioners Fidelity Fund;
• provide for consumer protection,
• provide for the repeal of the Estate Agency Affairs Act, 1976; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

According to the bill’s memorandum, the Estate Agency Affairs Act continues to “perpetuate exclusion of some people in other areas, promote weak monitoring of estate agency matters, encourage rampant embezzlement of clients’ funds and fails to provide mechanisms for monitoring the continuous mushrooming of unregistered estate agents, and therefore contributing negatively to the functional property market.”

During its briefing, the human settlements department stressed that there was a need to align the new legislation to the new market conditions and to constitutional imperatives.

The current legislation was also described as being archaic and out of sync with the democratic dispensation.

Property practitioners are defined as including everyone involved in the “selling, purchasing, letting, renting, financing and marketing of property.”

The envisaged transformation fund shall strive to promote economic transformation by “facilitating the accessibility of finance for property ownership, property development and investment in order to enable meaningful participation of historically disadvantaged individuals including women and youth.”

Inspectors will also be empowered to “search premises and seize documents from property practitioners where there is non-compliance with the Act.”