As we approach the culmination of yet another remarkable year, I enclose this last report which outlines Rebosa’s efforts which have defined the last few months. Throughout this year, we have overcome many challenges and achieved some significant milestones but there is still a lot to be done. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support and acknowledge the perseverance you’ve displayed during tough social and economic conditions.
As we enter the holiday season, I extend my heartfelt wishes to every one of you for a peaceful season with family and friends.
Looking ahead, let’s embrace the upcoming year with fresh perspectives, renewed determination, and a shared commitment to achieving even more success for our industry.
I wish you all a relaxing holiday season.
Rebosa held its tenth annual general meeting on 25 October 2023 via Zoom. We encourage you to read our outgoing Chairman, Tony Clarke’s report on the year under review. This will give you a comprehensive understanding of the work Rebosa has carried out towards fulfilling our mandate of protecting members’ interests and representing the industry at large. We feel it is important for our members to have sight of the work we are carrying out behind the scenes as the organisation is more than just sorting out members’ PPRA queries.
The full Chairman’s Address can be accessed on our website using the link below:-
REBOSA LEADERSHIP CHANGES
Rebosa’s Chair, Tony Clarke completed his 3-year tenure after the last AGM. Tony will remain on the board as a director. It is with heartfelt gratitude that we extend our deepest appreciation for his leadership, unwavering commitment, and invaluable contribution. Under his tenure, Rebosa has reached remarkable milestones and achieved record membership growth. His passion has been instrumental in steering us through unprecedented challenges including the court case against the then EAAB and the Covid-19 years while paving the way for our continued success.
At the last Rebosa board meeting, Adrian Goslett – Regional Owner, Regional Director, and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa was unanimously elected the new Rebosa Chairperson.
With Adrian’s exceptional track record of notable achievements, we are confident that we will foster a culture of innovation, inclusivity, and sustained success.
UNDESIRABLE BUSINESS PRACTICES AND ACCREDITATION FEES TO HOAs
In terms of Section 63(1) of the Property Practitioners Act, 22 of 2019 read with Regulation 35, certain business practices are deemed undesirable and therefore prohibited. Most notable is that Property Practitioners are prohibited from being party to any arrangement to pay accreditation fees to Homeowners’ Associations.
The PPRA issued a practice note in this regard which can be accessed on Rebosa’s website:-
To help eliminate this practice Rebosa has established an anonymous and secure reporting platform. The platform is designed to assist the PPRA in enforcing compliance with the PP Act by reporting transgressors. Complaints received on this platform have been forwarded to the PPRA and compliance notices have been sent to agents who have participated in these practices.
Agents contravening the Act can be reported on the platform using the link below:-
NB: HOAs cannot be prosecuted by the PPRA in terms of the Act.
COMPETITION COMMISSION INVESTIGATION INTO HOA ACCREDITATION FEES
The Competition Commission has written to several HOAs bringing to their attention that the practice of charging fees to estate agents may be anti-competitive as they restrict competition as some of these service providers are small and medium enterprises that are unable to afford these fees. This practice also has the effect of restricting the number of service providers that provide services to residents within the estates. The CC has asked for written responses to be received by 5 December 2023.
GUIDANCE FOR PROPERTY PRACTITIONERS AFFECTED BY THE INADEQUACY OF THE MANDATORY DISCLOSURE FORM AS CONTAINED IN REGULATION 36
The mandatory disclosure form prescribed by the PPRA, in many instances, does not make provision for all defects and is not worded appropriately
Following a consultation process with the PPRA, a guidance note was issued confirming Principals/Firms can apply for an exemption from using the prescribed form and develop their own mandatory disclosure form with respect to the type of services rendered in their businesses.
To this end, Rebosa has drafted a series of generic Mandatory Disclosure Forms. The forms are currently with the PPRA for approval and will be available to you in the New Year.
The PPRA practice note can be found on Rebosa’s website by accessing the link below:-
SCOPE OF DEFINITIONS IN THE PP ACT IRO NON-PRACTISING AGENCY PERSONNEL
The PPRA is interpreting the definitions in the PP Act iro who needs to register and hold an FFC widely. Recently the PPRA has determined that anyone who has access to funds in the in estate agency has to register as a property practitioner irrespective of any other considerations. Rebosa does not agree with this determination and has sought a legal opinion from our attorneys.
PPRA NOT ISSUING FFCs IN CORRECT FORMAT UNTIL 2025
Many property practitioners’ FFCs were issued in a format that did not comply with the requirements as per the PP Regulations i.e. reflected the name of the firm which has caused some issues with conveyancers paying commissions.
The PPRA only reconfigured the system in November and therefore has to manually re-issue incorrect FFCs, which they do not have the manpower to facilitate.
To alleviate this problem the PPRA will issue a letter to the agent confirming the correct firm under which the agent is operating for commissions to be paid.
Requests for such letter can be addressed to:-
Executive Manager Licensing and Registrations
FFC RENEWAL FEES
Agents are still being charged a fee when they change agency. We have brought this up numerous times with the PPRA leadership and can confirm that they agree that there is no fee when an agent changes firm. The FFC is valid for 3 years and during the validity period, the agent needs only to notify the PPRA of their change in employment or geographical location.
If you are an agent being charged a fee in this regard, kindly bring it to the attention of Fiona Chaitowitz at email@example.com for resolution.
Rebosa is still of the opinion that agents returning to the industry and who did not deregister with the PPRA should not be charged penalties during their period of absence. We believe these penalties are illegal.
The PPRA is of the opposite opinion. After numerous consultations with our attorneys and legal opinions sought as well as to avoid another lengthy court battle, we are making progress and will communicate in the new year.
INTEREST ON TRUST ACCOUNTS
The current unfortunate impasse still remains and will require a change in the PP Act to address.
FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE CENTRE (FIC) COMPLIANCE
The PPRA is no longer conducting FIC inspections. This area of responsibility has reverted to the FIC.
As a result, FIC is carrying out inspections of estate agency firms in earnest with many agencies being found non-compliant and being issued with notices to remedy, failing which they will be sanctioned.
Rebosa recently held a webinar to unpack FIC compliance with Maryna Botha from STBB who is well versed on the subject.
The webinar recording, presentation, Q&As, and updated RMCP templates and guidelines can all be found on our website to assist you with your FIC compliance.
Documents can be downloaded by accessing the link below:-
PPRA NEW REGISTRATION OF MANAGING AGENTS
The PPRA commenced the registration of Managing Agents on 15 December 2023.
Existing Managing Agents Holding FFCs as Estate Agents
The PPRA is actively developing the system to accommodate the registration of managing agents who currently hold FFCs as estate agents, both for firms and natural persons. This development phase aims to facilitate a smooth transition for managing agents, allowing them to be linked in multiple industries or migrated to the managing agent’s subsector.
EMPLOYMENT EQUITY ACT WEBINAR
On 21 February 2024, the Property Sector Charter Council will be hosting a webinar to unpack the Employment Equity Act, and its impact with a specific focus on the property sector and the real estate targets.
To register for this webinar use the link below:-
RATES CLEARANCE BACKLOG IN eTHEKWINI MUNICIPALITY
Rebosa can confirm that there are unprecedented delays with the issue of rate clearances by eThekwini, and there have been numerous representations made by various stakeholders.
Conveyancer representatives met with the City on 2 November and a further meeting was held on 15 November with a few Councillors and Senior Officials from eThekwini’s Revenue Department, in an endeavour to resolve this.
Rebosa has escalated the matter to the Mayoral Committee and City Manager of eThekwini Municipality and sought intervention from the DHS ministry.
We are hopeful that the backlog will be resolved in the New Year.