Make sure that the estate agent you are dealing with holds a Fidelity Fund Certificate, issued by the Estate Agency Affairs Board. The Board manages and controls, what is called The Estate Agents Fidelity Fund. The fund exists to reimburse someone who, under certain circumstances, has suffered a loss as a result of his dealings with an estate agent, i.e. theft by an estate agent of any money entrusted to him, failure of a principal estate agent to open a separate trust account with a bank, money being paid out from a trust account before he is given permission and so on.
The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) is a statutory body that primarily exists to regulate the industry and protect consumers in their dealings with an estate agent.
In the event of a dispute with an estate agent, the EAAB may be able to assist by setting up a mediation, depending on the circumstances, between the parties. There are a number of professionals who offer mediation and arbitration services who would also be able to assist to resolve the dispute. It is important to note, that many of the pre-printed agreements that estate agents use, have a clause in the agreement that regulates what procedure the parties are to follow in the event of dispute. If the dispute cannot be resolved, then the only recourse left may be to see an attorney and institute legal proceedings.
You can contact the Estate Agency Affairs Board for more information about the fund and what circumstances warrant a claim. Tel: 011 731-5600 | Web: www.eaab.org.za.
This article originally appeared in Property Power 11th Edition Magazine. To order your copy at the discounted price of R120 click here.