Taking a stand: 92% of property practitioners demand action on illegal competition
With a bold call to action, a staggering 92% of property practitioners are standing up against illegal competition, pushing for quick steps to keep the real estate game fair and square. This solid front marks a turning point where professionals in the business are saying ‘no’ to underhanded moves. In this article, we explore the pressing concerns voiced by the majority, the reasons behind their collective demand for decisive action, and shed light on the potential ramifications of addressing the issue head-on.
Unpacking the poll results
In July 2023, Prop Data polled property practitioners to find out if they believe enough is being done about illegal property practitioners. The results found:
92.2% said not enough is being done.
7.8% said enough is being done.
After seeing the poll results, Jonathan Broekman, Principal at Homes of Distinction, said “The PPRA was established solely to protect the public and regulate the industry. They need to focus on what they have been appointed to do, which is educate the public on verifying that the practitioner they are using to buy, sell, or rent is accredited and compliant.”
Cecilia Lourens, Franchisee and Principal at Just Property Cape Agulhas, said “Irrespective of whether this is warranted or not, it shows a concern throughout the industry. It can also be indicative of the percentile of compliant agencies, assuming non-compliant practitioners won’t react or complain.”
Due to his own experience with an illegal practitioner, Broekman found that many of the public need to do more research when appointing an agent. When asking one of his clients who had the unfortunate experience of dealing with an illegal practitioner what criteria they used when hiring said agent, their response was “that they thought we were all the same.”
Proactive or reactive
When illegal operators sneak into the property scene, it bears consequences for the professional practitioners and the people looking for property help. It's not just about the industry's reputation taking a hit, there's real money at risk too. Legitimate players and consumers end up dealing with a threat that impacts their peace of mind and trust in the property game.
Lourens believes that due to illegal practitioners, “the professional image of the real estate industry cannot be upheld and is deemed laughable by persons openly doing business and people making use of unqualified, non-compliant agents.”
According to Broekman, the main consequences are “having their fidelity fund withdrawn, status verification on the website and confirmation their trust account has been audited.” Broekman says that the PPRA should “make the public aware to check first and not complain later” when it comes to addressing and curbing the activities of illegal property practitioners effectively.
Lourens also feels that “The PPRA should have an awareness programme for the public regarding rental agents and the qualifications needed to operate.” Furthermore, she adds, “They should make it easy for the public and agencies to access information on the registration of an individual or business. Anonymous reporting by registered agencies should be available. Cost-covering fees will go a long way to assist smaller agencies and encourage younger practitioners to enter the industry. Local authorities could be instrumental in identifying these individuals. There should be an insistence of a copy of an FFC for the company and individual when applying for signage, or when renting a business premise, and applying for a business license.
Stay positive, stay professional
In the fast-paced world of real estate, property practitioners need to watch out for unauthorised practitioners to keep their professional reputation intact. And making their credentials available will help ensure the industry puts a professional foot forward.
When asked for advice on the matter, Broekman said, “Always make available your status and qualifications so that your clients know what to look for.” Lourens had the following advice, “I would urge practitioners to maintain high standards of ethics and always aim to provide a quality service to their clients.”