Estate agents need valid certificate

2019-04-17 06:02
Natalie Steenkamp

Natalie Steenkamp

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Question:

I have finally received my qualification to practise as an estate agent, but am still waiting for my Fidelity Fund Certificate.

Some people say I can start practising as an estate agent as long as I have applied for my certificate.

Is this correct? Can I already practise?

Answer:

In terms of the Estate Agency Affairs Act, an estate agent must have a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC) in order to receive any payment or commission arising from his or her duties as an estate agent.

It has been held by our courts that, even if an FFC has been applied for, iIf a valid FFC was not held by the estate agent at the time of the transaction in which he or she is claiming a commission or payment, the estate agent is not entitled to any commission or payment for such transaction.

The purpose of the requirement for an estate agent to have an FFC is to ensure that the public is not misled.

As such the FFC is an important control measure to help reduce the risk to the public regarding corrupt agents.

A FFC will not be issued to any estate agent who, amongst other things:

(1) has been dismissed from a position of trust due to improper conduct;

(2) has at any time been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty;

(3) is an unrehabilitated insolvent;

(4) is of unsound mind;

(5) does not comply with the prescribed standard of training; or

(6) does not have the prescribed practical ex­perience as agent.

When the new Property Practitioners Bill is enacted, conveyancers may also not pay out commission unless the estate agent has provi­ded the conveyancer with a certified copy of his valid FFC.

Therefore, it would be wise or prudent for buyers and sellers to request proof of a valid FFC before associating themselves with an estate agent or agency.

Natalie Steenkamp, director, Phatshoane Henney Attorneys

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