Certifications - estate agents must comply or be deregistered

All estate agents must get their National Qualification Framework level 4 or level 5 certifications before October or they will not be issued with fidelity fund certificates for next year.

Bryan Chaplog, acting chief executive of the Estate Agency Affairs Board, said this at the board's road show in Cape Town.

Annette Evans, manager of the Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape, who attended the event, says that agents, principals and owners of estate agencies or related businesses all need to comply.

"All managers, owners, members and registered operations must comply before applying for their 2014 fidelity fund certificate in October, or they will be deregistered in January," says Evans.

There are a number of ways to comply: for example, by exemption due to experience or tertiary qualifications, or by completion of a portfolio of evidence that supports the Recognition of Prior Learning for level 4 or level 5.

The Services Sector Education and Training Authority will issue certificates, and agents have two years from the certification date to complete their professional designation exams.

Once they have completed the appropriate steps, they may apply for their fidelity fund certificates to be renewed for next year.

"There could be many agents who won't be able to renew their fidelity

Afund certificates. It is in buyers and sellers' best interests to ask whether the agents they are dealing with have valid fidelity fund certificates. They are quite entitled to ask for proof of agents' registration and whether they are working legally," Evans said.

Once deregistered, in terms of the Estate Agency Affairs Act and the Law Society Rules an agency, agent or business will not be entitled to receive commissions. This applies to:

Residential, agricultural, commercial or industrial sales agents. Holiday or rental agents. Business brokers. Developers offering re-sales. Managing or property administration agents.

Consultants for timeshare or life rights.

Immovable property auctioneers. Also, agents will not receive their fidelity fund certificates if the company for which they work does not have one.

For an agency to be registered, the principal must have a National Qualification Framework level 5 certificate.

The institute regularly presents workshops and information sessions on property-related topics, and helps members to get their level F4 and 5 qualifications and prepare for their professional designation exams. It also helps sort out problems with qualification deadlines for fidelity fund certificates, says Evans.

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