New law for agents and home inspectors

Private Property South Africa
Cathy Nolan

agentBryan Chaplog, CEO of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), announced on TV last week that a new law regulating estate agents will also be used to regulate home inspectors in SA. Bryan, together with John Graham, CEO of HouseCheck, appeared on the SABC TV consumer discussion programme Yilungelo Lako – It’s Your Right.

John, who is also the director of the South African Home Inspection Academy (SAHITA) which equips its students with an all-round knowledge of local building methods and regulations, said that the proposed new Property Practitioners Bill will regulate the role of home inspectors by recognising them as a category of property practitioners alongside estate agents.

Points made by Bryan during the show include:

  • The new Bill will define and regulate the role of both agents and home inspectors. Home inspectors will become a category of property practitioners and like estate agents they will also fall under the regulation of the EAAB.

  • In terms of the new law, estate agents will be required to give buyers and sellers the option of using a home inspection service in order to get the comfort they need.

Shake up

The new Bill comes as part of a general shake-up in the legislation affecting property transactions in general – which, following the passing of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), is perhaps overdue.

John says that buyers of ‘second hand’ properties still find themselves exposed to various risks since the CPA permits private sellers to include the voetstoots clause – and because the Act “doesn’t apply to intermediaries which are already governed by other national legislation – like estate agents, who are governed by the EAAB”.

On the fast-track

John says that it would appear that the Minister in the National Department of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu – under whom the EAAB now falls – “Wants to move quickly, and she’s keen to get things done, so we expect that the Bill will be fast-tracked.”

He says, too, that it’s very important that she does this.

“When it becomes law, the Bill will define the profession of home inspection – which is a necessary step in the process of regulating the profession, which is itself important because we foresee very rapid growth as consumers become aware of the reasons why they should ask for reports on properties they plan to buy. The new rules will place a much heavier onus on estate agents to provide a much deeper level of advice to their clients - and they’re going to need the services of many more trained inspectors to assess and evaluate the properties that come onto their books.”

The Bill is still in the confidential stage, and hasn’t yet been published for comment, but it is expected to go to Cabinet in December, after which it will be opened for discussion.

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