From Yeap Soon Teck Deputy Director (Licensing), Council for Estate Agencies
We refer to the letter “No principle in CEA fee policy” (May 31).
Under the Estate Agents Act, all real estate salespersons are required to register with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) through an estate agent, which is responsible for paying a registration fee when it makes the application. The fee is charged as resources are involved to process each application and ensure that the salesperson’s credentials comply with the standards required in the Act.
For a salesperson who switches agents, the receiving agent has to apply to the CEA and pay the fee. This application is subject to another round of assessment to ascertain that the salesperson continues to meet the necessary criteria for registration.
The CEA has briefed agents on the process during industry dialogue sessions and through circulars.
When a salesperson is registered, the agent that supports and submits the application is responsible for ensuring that the salesperson is fit to practise and will comply with the Estate Agents Act and Regulations.
The CEA works closely with agents on this, too.
Apart from licensing, the CEA does regular enforcement work and compliance checks, investigates consumer complaints about estate agency services and implements industry development initiatives.
These will help enhance the level of services rendered and better protect consumers. The CEA also engages in public education to help consumers make informed decisions in their property transactions.
The resources and costs involved are supported by the registration and licensing fees, supplemented by government funding. The CEA is mindful of the costs. Through regular dialogue sessions with industry stakeholders, we will continue to ensure that registration fees remain reasonable.
Consumers are already paying commissions for the services of agents and salespersons. They should not be expected to pay the CEA for initiatives to raise the level of professional service of the real estate industry.
No principle in CEA fee policy
From Henry Tay
May 31, 2012
Property agents can perform estate agency work only if they have a valid registration. But why are registration fees subjected to repayment when an agent, registered for a valid period, switches agencies?
When a property agent recently asked the Council for Estate Agencies about this, it said that estate agencies and not the agent are responsible for paying the fee, be it whether the individual is new to the industry or an existing agent making a switch.
The CEA appears nonchalant to the principle behind its policy. And estate agencies continue to pay without knowing why.
With 30,600 registered property agents here, annual registration fees of S$230 and application fees of S$53.50, the CEA would be collecting a hearty S$8.68 million and more each year.
Ironically, the CEA was formed for the benefit of consumers in their property transactions, but does not collect any money from them.
Source : Today – 2012 Jun 12