Rental agents: "hot and bothered" by new regulations
Denise Mhlanga
06 August 2008

New legal requirements for rental agents send waves of surprise, confusion among their ranks.

News of the new education dispensation has been received with shock and uncertainty of how it will translate into practise for estate agents.

Rental agents who spoke to Realestateweb following the announcement of the new education dispensation said they are aware of the new regulations but could not talk about its expected impact on the industry as it is "too early to say.

South African estate agents under the new education dispensation will have to comply with the regulations as published in the government gazette last month.

The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) said the new regulations which came into effect on 15 July will bring transformation and ensure estate agents who practise are trained properly. spoke to Jill Corfield from Corfield School of Real Estate, and SETA-accredited assessor and moderator, said rental agents are affected in the same way as selling agents by the new regulations.

Corfield said estate agents have been waiting for years for change but now that it is here, it is stressful  and is met with resistance by some estate agents who feel the new regulations should affect only new entrants into real estate.

"It will take time because both agents are required to study new material they are likely not to use," said Corfield.

She added that rental agents are required to study materials on selling property and selling agents have to study the rental market as well.

"Resistance is partly because estate agents are not seeing the bigger picture - which is not the Estate Agency Affairs Board enforcing new regulations but the government through its education training bodies," she said.

Corfield said estate agents have until 31 December 2011 to comply with the new regulations.

While existing agents will have to study various materials based on their knowledge, new entrants into the profession will study for a year.

Depending on the level of knowledge an estate agent has accumulated, study time can be anything from three months to a year.

"It's not about time to study but money involved which is a cause for concern right now," said Corfield.

Asked about the costs, Corfield said she is not in a position to say how much but adds that the SETA is offering a certain number of bursaries for estate agents who will take the Recognition for Prior Learning (RPL) route in order to comply.

Shirley Tolstrup, rental manager at Chas Everitt International Property Group in Randburg, Johannesburg, said the compliance requirements are cause for concern.

"I do not believe it is wise to take a ‘one size fits all' stance with regard to the qualification requirement which will be a pre-requisite in being issued with a Fidelity Fund Certificate," said Tolstrup.

She said she is concerned that so many personnel in real estate who are not selling agents or principals will be required to comply with the same educational standards.

At Chas Everitt, all rental agents, administration and property inspection personnel hold Fidelity Fund Certificates, she said.

"I agree that training is imperative in the specific field in which one is operating, but to be faced with the registration form for RPL has sent shock through my team," said Tolstrup

She said there should be a tiered qualification system for estate agents that takes into consideration the needs of  basic real estate principles and addresses them separately from all related legislation for those who are not selling agents or principals.

 "This could be well part of the bigger plan but I have not as yet been made aware of it," said Tolstrup.

Martie Strydom, a rental agent for Just Letting in Centurion East, Pretoria, said she has heard about the new regulations and is aware that all estate agents - in rentals or sales - are required to comply by 2011.

 "I have been a qualified estate agent for years so I will have to complete my compliance requirements through RPL," said Strydom.

She said estate agents in general are still coming to terms with the new regulation compliance requirements.

Meanwhile Jane Dubruel de Broglio of Debro Estates, which specialises in rentals in Johannesburg north, said the new regulation compliance requirements are the same across the board for all estate agents.

She said the new regulation implications remain as it is still early to tell which way this will pan out.

Having been in real estate for 22 years, Dubruel de Broglio said she has come to realise that training enhances one's knowledge about the job but does not in itself make a successful estate agent.

The new education regulations at a glance

The new regulations specify that all estate agents will be affected and will have to take extra or specified study materials which are dependent on the level of that particular agent in order to fully comply with the new regulation.

The old education system for estate agents did not comply with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Act or its regulations.

According to SAQA, the Further Training and Education Certificate in Real Estate National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 4 is for any individual who wishes to be involved in the real estate.

Once an individual qualify at this level, they will be admitted to the professional examination for estate agents conducted by the regulatory EAAB.

On successful completion of this exam, a candidate is then registered as a non-principal estate agent by EAAB.

In addition, this qualification will facilitate access to, mobility within and progression along a career path for individuals who:

  1. Were previously disadvantaged or were unable to complete school or were denied access to Further Education Training;
  2. Have worked in real estate for many years but have no formal qualifications in real estate; and
  3. Wish to extend their range of skills and knowledge of the industry so that they can become competent in real estate.

The NQF level 4 qualifications equates to matriculation level and will provide the broad knowledge, skills and values needed in real estate.

Article from: Denise Mhlanga