Prevent Penalties for Audit Report: No Excuse will be Adequate
The audit report submission deadline of 30 June 2021 for estate agency firms with a financial year-end of 28 February 2021 is imminent and this notification serves as a reminder to principals of these estate agency firms.
In order to ensure compliance with section 29(b), 32(3)(b) and 32(4) of the Estate Agency Affairs Act (the Act), principals are reminded to take note of the following information and also bring it to the attention of the auditors of their estate agency clients:
a. No extensions/exemptions are granted by the Estate Agency Affairs Board (the EAAB) on the submission deadline of 30 June 2021 for estate agency firms with a 28 February 2021 financial year end. The waiver of penalties that was implemented in 2020 does not apply for 2021 audit reports. Penalties will be charged for audit reports submitted after the 30 June 2021 deadline for estate agencies with a 28 February 2021 financial year-end. Principals should therefore plan their audits of estate agents to allow sufficient time to have the audits finalised within the prescribed four months and the relevant audit reports submitted before the deadline of 30 June 2021;
b. The sole manner of submission of audit reports determined by the EAAB in terms of section 32(4) of the Act is the MyEAAB Auditors Portal, accessible on www.eaab.org.za/myaudit Emailed, hand-delivered, posted or faxed audit reports will not be accepted as having been received;
c. All information that auditors may require in relation to the audits of estate agents is accessible on the MyEAAB Auditors Portal landing page, available on www.eaab.org.za/myaudit
d. In order to avoid the last minute request of Firm PIN Numbers required to submit an audit report, principals are required to get this Firm PIN Number, which starts with the letter “F”, well in advance of the submission deadline from the estate agency firm’s Fidelity Fund Certificate. Alternatively, this can be requested directly from the EAAB Call Centre at 087 285 3222;
e. The consequences of late submission of audit reports or failure to submit the audit reports are severe and results in the commencement of processes for the disqualification of, not only the estate agency firm itself, but also all the principals, full status estate agents and intern agents operating under the disqualified estate agency firm from being issued with Fidelity Fund Certificates. The commencement of processes for the disqualification will occur on 1 July 2021 if the audit report is not submitted on the Auditors Portal by 30 June 2021 for those estate agency firms with a 28 February 2021 financial year-end.
Principals of estate agencies should therefore be guided accordingly to avoid disqualifications of their estate agency clients from being issued with Fidelity Fund Certificates as a result of failure to submit the audit report within the prescribed timeframe.
Property Practitioners Act
We have still not received any information as to when the PPA will be signed by the President to denote its commencement date.
As widely reported Rebosa’s legal action vs the EAAB was successful and the Judge’s comments regarding the EAAB was anything but laudatory. However, the matter is not settled and further action is in process. We will continue to do our best to ensure the timeous issue of FFC’s.
EAAB PDE Online Exams
Unfortunately results of the 25 February 2021 exams were only released by the EAAB on 19 May 2021, a day before the next exam of 20 May and past the deadline of 7 May for registration and payment, leaving many agents in limbo through no fault of their own. According to the many complaints we received from both candidates and their training providers during the 20 May exam it is evident that the EAAB have not improved their system or procedures for online exams. The next exam takes place on 19 August 2021 and we will continue to consult with the EAAB to ensure a better outcome.
POPIA is here to Stay
All estate agencies and their agents must comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act (often called the POPI Act or POPIA) which comes into effect on 1 July 2021.
Much of the Personal Information that is kept will be in the form of data in databases or systems, and the rest will be in form of documents or records. Managing these correctly is imperative under POPIA.
The “Regulations” relating to the protection of personal information is included for your reference here -https://www.popiact-compliance.co.za/images/Documents/POPIA_Regulations_-_Dec_2018.pdf
Rebosa have published in-depth guidelines on PoPI together with a practice manual, courtesy of STBB for all members free of charge. You can download the information from our website by accessing the following link https://www.rebosa.co.za/popi-estate-agent-practice-manual/
Please ensure that you have registered your information officer by 30 June 2021 and that they know their role and duties, that your staff actually comprehend their responsibilities and the content of your policies, and that indemnities are in place for instances where personal information is shared by or with your business.
We have been in touch with the Department of Justice and any problems or complaints can be addressed to:-
Ms Mmanoko Mofubetsoane
Complaints Registration Officer
Address: JD House
27 Stiemens street, Braamfontein
Tel: Tel: 010 023 5220
Ms Mofubetsoane has been very responsive in answering emails and concerns and will welcome your queries specifically in regard to registering your information officer.
Other information can be accessed on their site https://www.justice.gov.za/inforeg/portal.html
Members who wish to receive one on one training or onsite assistance can contact Dr John Hendrikse from Genesis Corporate Services cc on Tel:+27(0)217820765 or Email DrJohn@onlinemoi.co.za These services obviously carry a cost. Following please find the information and costs.
We understand that this new legislation can be daunting and as such you are welcome to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with any of your queries. Maryna Botha is a director of STBB and a PoPI expert and will assist us in answering your most pressing queries.
As no information whatsoever has been forthcoming from the EAAB, Rebosa’s attorneys have drafted an industry “Code of Conduct on POPIA” at our own expense which we will share with the Department of Human Settlements and the EAAB for consideration and adoption.
Continuing Professional Development “CPD”
We continue to be inundated with queries in this regard. Agents have until 30 June to complete the 2020 e-learning modules and acquire the necessary points. 2020 payments were waived and therefore if you paid in 2020 your fee should be allocated against the 2021 CPD cycle. To date we have had no correspondence on 2021 CPD and we are not expecting it any time soon. The modules have not been uploaded and e-learning is not available. We await notification from the EAAB. Please ensure you complete the 2020 CPD programme and submit your 2021 Professional Development Plan (PDP) before 30 June.
The Rebosa AGM will take place virtually on 28 July 2021. Please diarise the date. Notices and supporting documentation will be emailed to members in due course.
Notwithstanding the imminent Property Practitioners Act which will have serious implications, the real estate industry is currently faced with a minefield of new legislation, all of which have far reaching consequences for our members. FIC, POPIA, Land reform and the Rental Housing Amendment Act to name a few, affect us directly. Rebosa continues to lobby Parliament and all spheres of Government to ensure our members are represented. Your membership fees ensures this representation and general safeguarding of the industry. We thank you again for your support without which none of this would be possible.
Our recent very expensive and fortunately successful legal action against the EAAB is evidence of our commitment to act on behalf of members.
We further encourage you to visit our website (www.rebosa.co.za) and social media pages to keep abreast of industry events and happenings and to communicate your ongoing concerns with us so that we can act accordingly.
National Association of Realtors Webinar
Rebosa are long standing bi-lateral partners of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). We are pleased to announce that we have been asked to contribute to a series of webinars aimed at showcasing South Africa’s property market. The first of these events will take place on 23 June 2021 at 18h00 SA time. The topic is “Global Home Market: A Look at Luxury Market in South Africa”. Panellists include Samuel Seeff, Denise Dogon and Amanda Cuba.
We will email the link to attend within the next few days and hope that you will join us and our counterparts from North America.