The Property Practitioners Draft Bill was published for comment on 31 March 2017 and when gazetted into law, will replace the Estate Agency Affairs Act of 1976.
SAPOA supports the objectives of the draft Bill, which aims to:
- provide for the regulation of property practitioners.
- provide for the continuation of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) as the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority.
- provide for the continuation of the Estate Agents Fidelity Fund as the Property Practitioners Fidelity Fund.
- to provide for consumer protection, and
- provide for matters related matters.
SAPOA recognises and supports the policy imperatives and the legislative objectives of ensuring the protection of consumers against the complexities that in most instances permeates in most business transactions.
According to CEO Neil Gopal, SAPOA conducted several engagements over the last 5 years with the EAAB to find common ground on matters impacting on the Commercial Property industry. The current version of the draft Bill does not take into account any of SAPOA’s previous recommendations.
“As a member-driven organisation, SAPOA has over the past 5 years dedicated a great deal of time, effort and resources in assisting the EAAB with redrafting and providing comments to all previous versions of the Bill. This was done at the request of the EAAB. It is unfortunate and regrettable that none of the recommendations made by SAPOA, even though accepted by the EAAB on the basis that the principles proposed were sound and rational, have been taken into consideration in the current version of the Bill,” he said.
Gopal notes that the EAAB did not act in good faith over the years of engagement and simply created the impression that the industry’s comments are valid and will be given recognition.
The Bill remains in its current form, albeit for the addition of the Exemption in Section 4, Ombud Office in Chapter 4 and, Compliance and Enforcement in Section 27.