Good Day Colleagues
This is our first Report in 2022 as much has happened over the past few months and we have been unpacking the Regulator’s response to the Property Practitioners Regulations and obtaining legal opinions to better understand and support our response to the various queries raised by our members.
The PPRA’s CEO and her team to date has not been forthcoming in providing the industry with clear guidelines regarding implementation of the Act even though they had more than 2 years to prepare.
We hope the newly installed Board will soon steer the PPRA out of the many crises they are plagued with.
The PP Act Regulations were gazetted on 14 January 2022 with the commencement date effective on 1 February 2022. The Regulations were mostly welcomed by industry and addressed many of the challenges and uncertainties emanating from the Act.
Business owners can now operate without trust accounts provided the guidelines are followed.
Individuals can qualify as agents by writing and passing PDE 4 before commencing a career in real estate and then complete a practical course before practising as a Property Practitioner.
FFCs will be issued for 3 year periods without displaying company or agent status thus eliminating the red tape as no corrections and changes need to be made on the FFC during the period. Status, estate agency etc. must be on all stationery, marketing etc.
NQF is no longer a requirement but those who are committed and have progressed far might be well advised to complete the course. Many interpretations abound on this but we are convinced based on solid legal advice that this is the case. It may well take a few weeks before something definitive can be expected. We also believe this applies to all interns regardless of date of registration.
By all indications CPD will not only be much more affordable and available, but the content might be better as entities are allowed to present their own CPD courses for approval and audit to the PPRA and in doing so bring the cost down even further.
Estate agents can no longer participate in arrangements in terms of which security estates charge accreditation fees and limit access.
A general amnesty has for all practical purposes been announced in Regulation 41.41
“An applicant shall not be precluded from registering as a property practitioner or obtaining a Fidelity Fund Certificate under the Act in consequence of such a person having been in any way non-compliant with any of the provisions of the previous Act unless …. “
This means that if you are not in the process of being criminally prosecuted or subject to any disciplinary proceeding and have not previously had your FFC withdrawn then no transgression in the old Act can be held against you when applying for an FFC in terms of the new Act. This is a positive clause in the Regulations and does not only assist Property Practitioners with legacy problems but also affords the PPRA an opportunity to have a fresh start given their system and capacity difficulties.
This should take care of the huge penalties being charged.
Unfortunately the PPRA appears to be ill prepared for implementation of the Act despite the fact that the Act was signed by the President in November 2019 – anyone would call that adequate notice. It’s also fair to assume that the PPRA would have had prior insights into the published Regulations. For more on this see an article published in Property Professional on 3 March 2022. (https://propertyprofessional.co.za/2022/03/03/better-faster-and-affordable-without-nqf-4/)
The unfortunate result is massive uncertainty, exacerbated by the fact that the PPRA seems to err as far as interpretation is concerned in many instances. It is repeatedly communicated that the previous Regulations remain in place despite clearly having been replaced by the new regulations on the 1 February 2022. Legal opinion that leaves no room for doubt has been forwarded to the PPRA. These legal opinions can be accessed on Rebosa’ website (https://www.rebosa.co.za/legal-opinion-on-transitional-provisions-of-the-ppa-22-of-2019-s-756/)
BEE and Tax Certificates
It is absolutely clear in Regulation 41.19 and 41.20 that natural persons do not have to submit BEE or TAX certificates yet the correspondence from the PPRA continues to demand this. Below is email correspondence between myself and the PPRA CEO iro BEE and Tax certificates as well as fees. This is just another example of the confusion and misinformation wilfully being shared with the industry.
No new FFCs till 1 April 2022
The authority has also decided that no new FFCs will be issued until 1 April 2022 – a date which one must assume might also be flexible. This decision has no basis in law and prejudices anyone who wanted to register since 1 February 2022. One trusts this will be rectified ASAP but we are also concerned that even 1 April may not be achievable.
We are however cautioning all members to not act hastily in any instance unless absolutely necessary. Many are anxious to close trust accounts etc. but it would be better to wait for some guidelines from the PPRA so as to streamline the process going forward. Much as the PPRA should have been ready we unfortunately have to live with the consequences and it would be better exercise patience in this regard in your own interest.
The PPRA have requested comments and inputs on the draft licensing guidelines and the transformation agenda and Rebosa is contributing to this through the NPPC. All the interpretational issues will be addressed and we will do our best to make sure that things run as smoothly as possible. This will however take time as the PPRA is belatedly trying to get a better understanding of the ACT and Regulations. We will do what we can to assist.
Q & A
Please see https://www.rebosa.co.za/property-practitioners-act-and-regulations-qa/
Forms and Practice Notes
We are aware that the correct forms and practice notes have not been issued and will endeavour to ensure this happens. The PPRA is communicating incorrect information on fees etc. – we are addressing this best we can.
The next PDE will take place on 19 May 2022. Deadline for payment and registration is 29 April 2022.
CPD Technical Glitch …..Still
The PPRA are aware that some property practitioners are currently experiencing technical problems in accessing the MYCPD portal. Their IT Department is busy finding a solution to the challenge and they have announced that should a need arise they will revise the deadlines for the completion of the CPD 2021 programme.