PROPERTY-related dealings with certified real estate agents could become more prominent moving forward.
This is given the fact that of late, many have been duped by fake ones, claiming that they are genuine real estate agents.
According to the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA), there have been many cases reported by the media recently on dubious characters claiming to be real estate agents.
Therefore, it is important for the public to know how to differentiate between a certified real estate negotiator (REN) and an imposter, who does not even hold an REN certification.
MIEA chief executive officer K Soma Sundram (pic) told StarBiz that all certified real estate agents will have an authorisation card – REN tags – that have been issued by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (Bovaep).
“There have been cases where some real estate agents had used or faked a REN number to be placed on their name cards.
“This does not indicate that they are a certified REN.
“Sometimes, they also use another person’s name card with a REN number on it and make claims that he/she is associated with this person, ” he added.
He pointed out that getting a name card is easy and cheap and “no one is allowed to represent any other individuals.
“It’s like lawyers cannot let anyone represent them.”
Many also failed to realise that the real estate agents’ practice comes under a Parliament Act (ACT 252 or Valuers, Appraisers, and Estate Agents Act 1981).
“As such, we are actually recognised as professionals.
“It is an offence to duplicate, falsify or use someone else’s REN number to carry out any real estate agents’ work.
“I refer you to Section 22C of the act, ” explained Soma.
Section 22C of the act points out that no person is allowed to practise or carry on a business or take up employment under any name, style or title containing the words “estate agent”, “house agent”, “property agent”, “land agent”, “house broker”, “real estate agency consultant”, or the equivalent thereto unless he is a registered estate agent and has been authorised to practise under Section 16.
The MIEA also noted that according to the law of the land, the term “real estate agent” refers to a person who has passed Part 1 and 2 of the real estate exams over a minimum period of two years and has also undergone post-practical training for an additional two years.
The institute added that once the personnel has completed the test, he/she will have to sit for a professional competence test before being placed in a register by Bovaep and only then can the personnel officially become a real estate agent.
In addition, the MIEA said the real estate agents are governed by Act 242 and have fiduciary responsibilities to their clients and must adhere to the code of conduct and ethics.
Soma noted that the public should not deal with imposters who have used REN certification numbers or merely placed a random number on their contact cards and should report them to Bovaep or the MIEA.
“There are many who are not certified because everybody thinks it’s easy to do real estate.
“They think it is simply just about finding a buyer and then a seller and you can make the commissions, ” said Soma.
“However, they don’t realise the laws relating to property transactions, including the law of contract.
“This relates to how they prepare the initial letter of offer, and there could also be misrepresentations, etc, ” he added.
The Valuers, Appraisers, and Estate Agents Act 1981 states that illegal brokers who engage in property transactions can, if convicted, be fined an amount not exceeding RM300,000, or face imprisonment for a term of not more than three years, or both.
A further penalty of RM1,000 for each day during the continuance of such an offence will also be imposed.
This provision also applies to any person who aids and abets in the commission of the offence.