In a judgment handed down from the High Court on the 15th of March 2021, the failure of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) to issue Fidelity Fund Certificates (FFCs) to the applicant estate agents has been found without merit.
This follows an urgent application from the Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA) as a last resort to assist real estate professionals awaiting the issuance of their FFCs for 2021.
According to REBOSA, the EAAB was not able to provide any evidence supporting the lawful withholding of FFCs from the applicant agents and agencies and its conduct during litigation was such that it was explicitly called out in the court’s judgment as ‘further evidence of the disarray in the EAAB and the concerns raised by REBOSA’.
The court found in favour of REBOSA and its co-applicants, with costs and the EAAB has been given urgent deadlines by which they must either issue outstanding FFCs to each qualified agent and agency listed in the application or, to notify them of valid reasons for not doing so.
Further to this, the EAAB has been ordered to file a report with the court within thirty days detailing the number of applications for FFCs received on or before the 31st of October 2020, how many of these applications were approved for certification, and how many certificates have been issued. The regulator must also disclose the total number of unresolved queries lodged by estate agents and the total funds currently held in its suspense account.
“REBOSA welcomes the judgement, as it highlights the plight of the average agent in our industry,” says REBOSA Chairman, Tony Clarke. “Even more importantly, we hope that it will open doors to collaborating with the EAAB on resolving its service delivery challenges. This would be a huge step towards achieving a mutually beneficial working relationship with our regulator and building a better professional future for the real estate industry.”
Read the EAAB’s response here.
(The views and opinions expressed in this media release are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Property Wheel.)