Sources from http://www.theborneopost.com
KOTA KINABALU: No action has been taken on any illegal estate agents anywhere in the country, including Sabah, even though the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981 has been implemented, said Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) president, Siva Shanker.
During the Property Hunter Agent Talk dubbed ‘How to Establish a Leading Edge Against Illegal Estate Brokers’ held at the Celyn Hotel City Mall near here yesterday, he said that there have been no cases of illegal real estate brokers being charged in court or arrested by the police to date.
Additionally, there have also been no investigations carried out by the police so far against illegal real estate brokers despite the numerous complaints that have been lodged, said Shanker.
He said that the Act has clearly stated that agents who were unregistered cannot transact properties for fees and that if they did, they would be breaking the law.
“This was enforced in 1981. Prior to that, everyone can do real estate but illegal real estate has been allowed to flourish due to the lack of enforcement,” he lamented.
The role of MIEA is to promote awareness amongst genuine estate agents and members of the public.
“Make a report against any person who set up illegal real estate agents,” he said. Illegal real estate agents are those that are not registered members of the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, and Estate Agents.
He cited that the perception that the activities of illegal real estate agents were victimless crime was what encouraged the enforcement agencies against taking action against the perpetrators.
But this perception is wrong, said Shanker, and he stated several reasons as to why he thought in such a way.
“Registered agents are the victims. We follow the rules and we take only three per cent fees, while they (the illegal brokers) don’t abide by any rules,” he said.
In such cases, buyers were also victims as they have to pay more for the property if they deal with illegal brokers.
Sellers are also victims as they gained less from the properties sold, while the government was victimised because illegal brokers do not have to pay taxes, he said.
“So why is this perception that it is a victimless crime? It is a crime with many victims. If someone practiced as a lawyer illegally, you can be certain that person would be arrested the next day, and the same goes for illegal doctors. So we need to ask why there is a lack of enforcement when it comes to illegal real estate brokers,” he said.
He alleged that there were thousands of illegal real estate brokers and he classified them as opportunists rather than criminals.
Shanker also said that it would be easy to eradicate the practice of illegal real estate brokers.
“Just catch one or two and make an example out of them. The moment that happens, they (illegal real estate brokers) will run and hide.
“They will immediately join the real estate agency,” he said.
At the same time, he also urged genuine real estate agents to differentiate themselves from those practicing illegally.
“Wear your tags. It differentiates the genuine agents from those illegally operating,” he advised.
There are presently 100 registered estate agents and 300 registered negotiators in Sabah.