While the Property Practitioners Act’s key focus is transformation, it places the interests of consumers at the centre of all real estate transactions, says Joseph Sakoneka, CEO of the National Property Practitioners Council.
“The Property Practitioners Act (PPA) adopts a two-pronged approach. On one hand, it protects the interests of consumers, and it focuses on educating them so that they are empowered with the knowledge to make informed decisions and on the other hand, it also ensures that property practitioners are adequately protected too”, he says.
In alignment with the PPA, Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi, launched the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority (PPRA) to ensure that the Act’s regulations are enforced.
The PPRA seeks to appoint qualified property practitioners by issuing licenses to gradually rule out those who are operating without the necessary qualifications and Fidelity Fund Certificates (FFCs).
Prospective candidate property practitioners are required to obtain the prescribed professional designation exam (PDE) qualification before practising as a property practitioner and they need to be supervised by a qualified practitioner with all property deals to be co-signed for a period of six months.
“This dual approach is self-preservation of the Authority’s property practitioner’s fidelity fund”, says Sakoneka.
The Act states also states that property practitioners are required to undertake continued professional development (CPD) initiatives so that they are kept up to date with developments in the property sector, ensuring that consumers receive an expert service based on relevant conventions and practices.
“The PPRA has the authority to disqualify certain individuals from being issued with FFCs i.e., those who do not comply with the prescribed standard of training. However, consumers are allowed to claim against the fund if they can prove that they have suffered a pecuniary loss as a result of a property practitioner misappropriating trust funds and the consumer has laid a criminal charge against the practitioner”.
“By regulating the conduct of property practitioners while educating consumers, the Authority is hoping to reduce the number of consumer claims. It is on this basis that the PPA is deemed to be a consumer-centric piece of legislation”, he concludes.