All Estate Agents have to register with the Estate Agents Affairs Board (EAAB) when they first become Agents. Thereafter, on an annual basis all Estate Agents have to reregister with the EAAB by 31 October of each year.
The EAAB issues the Estate Agent with a Fidelity Fund Certificate which is proof that the Agent is registered. The bottom of the certificate contains a tear off part which the Agent can put in their wallet or purse as portable proof of registration.
Many so called Estate Agents do not register with the EAAB. The consequence of this is that should monies be stolen you as the Seller or Buyer will not have recourse to the EAAB to refund your loss as the Agent would not have Fidelity cover in place. It is therefore wise to ask the Agent to provide proof that they are registered with the EAAB by either producing a copy of the Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC) or the tear off portion. You can also log onto the Estate Agency Affairs Board's website where you will find a list of all registered Estate Agents as well as registered Estate Agencies. Please bear in mind that on occasion the Board is tardy in issuing the FFC’s and your Agent may not have a current FFC. If that is the case you can ask to see the previous years FFC as well as proof of payment for the current years FFC.
Should you wish to submit a claim due to the fraudulent activity of an Estate Agent you can obtain the required claim form directly off the Boards website.
Please note that only an Agent who holds a valid FFC may complete the required documentation for the Agreement of Sale. In terms of the Regulations, an Agent who does not hold a valid FFC must ensure that a qualified Agent who has held a FFC for more than three years accompanies them whilst they complete the Agreement of Sale.
The number of registered Estate Agents has decreased from about 88,000 in 2008 to less than 28,000 for 2012. It is in your interest to check that your Agent is registered with the Board, as any person who is not registered cannot be trusted to market your property which in most cases is a person’s biggest asset.
Up until 2008, it was very easy for a person to become a qualified Estate Agent. All that was required was for that person to operate as a candidate Agent for twelve months or to write the old Board exam. This has now changed for the better. All new prospective Agents need to undergo twelve months apprenticeship as a Learner Estate Agent, followed by a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) or a full 12 months Learnership course to obtain the Further Education and Training Certificate: Real Estate, followed by writing the new Professional Designation Exam. (PDE).
Existing Estate Agents must complete these requirements by 31 December 2013. Estate Agency Principals have until 31 December 2013 to complete the new requirements as well.