The newly commenced Property Practitioners Act serves as the replacement of the now completely repealed Estate Agency Affairs Act 112 of 1976. The transition has brought rise to several changes within the property sector, with a primary focus on regulations.
The Act established the Property Practitioner Regulatory Authority (PPRA), which will serve as the new governing body that aims to transform the property industry and protect property consumers. Unlike the previous regulatory body, the PPRA casts a wide net with a larger jurisdiction. The Act will come into effect on the 1st of February 2022 and it has been welcomed by chairman of the Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA), Tony Clarke.
What does the Property Practitioners Act say?
- Practitioners will now be referred to as Property Practitioners, Candidate Property Practitioners and Principal Property Practitioners as opposed to the former Estate Agents.
- Further to previous regulations regarding the Fidelity Fund Certificates (FCC), the Property Practitioners Act has stipulated a mandatory policy that requires all practitioners to have a valid FFC, a valid tax clearance certificate and a BEE certificate at the time of transaction. The Act elaborates that no commission may be claimed by practitioners if without a valid FFC.
- In the interest of consumer protection, the Property Practitioners Act has also stipulated that a defect disclosure form must be annexed and attached to the agreement of sale and the seller’s mandate. This once courteous gesture has become mandatory and failure to comply will result in the legal assumption that no defects were disclosed.
- The Property Practitioners Act has also made provisions that promote the freedom of choice for the consumers ahead of property practitioner’s financial gain. The Act has stipulated a policy that disallows property practitioners from concluding agreements that obligate consumers to use a particular service provider. As a result, consumers reserve the right to choose any conveyancer they deem fit.
- With authority from the Property Practitioners Act, the regulatory body PPRA has been given the authority to appoint an inspector. The inspector will play a supervisor role, which he/she ensures fair and legally sound transactions. The inspector is at liberty to issue out a compliance notice to property practitioners in instance of a minor or substantial contravention to the Act having occurred. The notice is accompanied by a reasonable fine.
The philosophy of the Act serves to protect consumers while simultaneously managing to create a clear and concise structure of operation for property practitioners. Much of the newly implemented changes enforce procedural obligations that endorse credibility in the buying, selling and renting of real estate.
The Property Practitioners Act has managed to address and improve on matters which may have previously called for scrutiny. As a result the Act is largely welcomed by both the legal and real estate community.
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