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Be wary of unregistered estate agents

Cape Town – 6 September 2016

Since 2010 the South African estate agency industry has gone through a not so smooth sailing period of transformation.As with any period of transformation,it leaves those who refuse to conform eating dust.

There are severe consequences for consumers and property owners who choose to transact with an unregistered estate agent.The Estate Agency Affairs Board Act requires that every estate agency,estate agency principal and all trading agents,including candidate agents,be registered with the board,and be in possession of a fidelity fund certificate for the current calendar year.The risk involved in dealing with an unregistered estate agent,is that the affected transaction is not covered by the fidelity insurance held by the board.So if an unregistered estate agent misappropriates a client’s deposit,they cannot and will not be reimbursed by the Estate Agency Affairs Board.

In another blog post I wrote concerning this topic,I reported on an agent with Johlene Muir Properties in Roodepoort.In that article I made reference to Kevin Christopher Peacock,who at the time did not hold a valid fidelity fund certificate for the current year.I was later threatened with legal action my Mr Peacock’s attorneys,if I did not retract that article.I refused to retract the article concerning Kevin Peacock as the facts were true at the time of being published.In the letter sent to me by Peacock’s legal representative,a copy of a fidelity fund certificate issued on 20 May 2016,is attached.Thus proving that for the period up to 20 May 2016,Peacock was not legally registered and therefore prohibited from trading.Peacock’s registration is valid until 31 December 2016,and needs to be renewed annually,like all other agents.

Follow these tips to ensure you are dealing with a registered estate agent:

  • Go to the Estate Agency Affairs Board website and check if both the agency and the estate agency hold valid fidelity fund certificates for the current calendar year.
  • Ask your agent for a copy of his/her fidelity fund certificate BEFORE signing a mandate.
  • If you have already signed a mandate,the estate agent is not entitled to commission if they are not in possession of a valid fidelity fund certificate.
  • Ask your conveyancing attorney to hold back payment of the commission until the agent has provided a copy of their current fidelity fund certificate.

By Wesley Fester


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