Thursday, November 26, 2009

Public welcomes move to regulate property agents

THE Ministry of National Development (MND) has received more than 200 independent comments and suggestions on its proposed regulatory framework for property agents.

The vast majority of respondents in a recent public consultation exercise welcomed stronger regulation of the real estate industry, MND said yesterday.

The suggestions were generally supportive of key features proposed under the new regulatory framework – such as mandatory accreditation for property agencies and agents; setting up a public central registry for agents, and an independent tribunal to deal with disputes; and introducing a demerit points system.

Public consultation took place from Oct 13 to Nov 17.

MND said that because complaints often arose from alleged unethical practices or misconduct, respondents felt it was important that agents pass a standard industry entrance examination covering not only practical knowledge but also ethics, before they are allowed to practise.

They also agreed with a proposal that an agent should represent only one party in a transaction to avoid conflict of interest.

MND said: ‘These views were generally consistent with feedback gathered during industry consultations conducted from Sept 10 to Oct 1, when MND consulted stakeholders including industry associations, real estate agency directors, individual agents, Case (the Consumers Association of Singapore) and Redas (the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore).’

Views received from various parties will be consolidated and taken into consideration for refining the new regulatory framework, MND said.

Key elements are expected to be ready for announcement by early 2010.

Source: Business Times, 26 Nov 2009

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