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Real estate agents nudged by new legislation 

2024-06-28  Maihapa Ndjavera

Real estate agents nudged by new legislation 

The Property Practitioners Bill is new proposed legislation under scrutiny in the National Assembly, which aims to provide protection to consumers within the property sector. It aims to transform the domestic property market by creating an appropriate institutional and legal framework. 

This includes certification for auctioneers, developers and managers, and focusing on protecting consumers of agency services, including traditional estate agents. Making her contribution in parliament on the Bill, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Elma Dienda took issue with the proposal focusing on the mandatory display of the Fidelity Fund Certificate and Communication of Certificate status. 

The legislation states that every holder of a Fidelity Fund Certificate must prominently display it in every place of business from where they conduct immovable property transactions. This is to enable consumers to easily inspect it. Failure to do so will be an offence, and on conviction, the perpetrator will be liable to a fine not exceeding N$20 000, or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and imprisonment.  

“My concern is the phrase ‘prominently display’, which means putting up something where it is largely visible/noticeable. Now, as much as the display of the Fidelity Fund Certificate is a good initiative and requirement, the reality is that many of the real estate agents we currently have in Namibia have no physical office structure where they can display their certificates. Many of these agents are small start-ups, and therefore cannot afford office spaces. They operate mobile, where they have no office space,” she stated. 

Dienda, therefore, stressed that it is not a fair practice to fine them N$20 000, or to imprison them. 

Rather, the Bill should use the word, “show” or present”, where agents can show their certificates to their clients, instead of displaying them. 

The Property Practitioners Bill was tabled for consideration and adoption, and is set to repeal the Estate Agents Act 112 of 1976.  Its main purpose is to establish the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority, which will replace the Namibia Estate Agents Board. It aims to regulate the affairs of all property practitioners, allow for transformation in the property sector, and provide consumer protection.

The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA)’s recent data revealed that real estate and professional services’ activities recorded a growth of 1.8% in real value added during the first quarter of 2024, a similar growth rate when compared to the same quarter of 2023. 

“The performance of the sector is attributed to both real estate and professional services’ sub-sectors, which recorded growth rates of 1.5% and 4.7% in real value added, compared to an increase of 0.7% and 14.6% recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2023, respectively,” reads the NSA report.

2024-06-28  Maihapa Ndjavera

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