Tag Archives: Code of Ethics & Professional Client Care

CEA Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care

Terminology: Under the new Estate Agents Act

  • “Estate agents” means estate agency businesses(sole proprietors, partnerships, and companies)
  • “Salespersons” means individuals who perform estate agency work

The Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care is established under the Estate Agents (Estate Agency Work) Regulations 2010. The provisions in the Code will commence on 15 Nov 2010.

The Code defines the standard of performance required of estate agents and salespersons when carrying out their estate agency work and dealings with clients. You can refer to the Code for the level of professionalism to expect from your salesperson. If your salesperson fails to observe the Code, he/she may be subjected to disciplinary actions from CEA.

The Code covers:

 i. Knowledge of and compliance with relevant laws, practice circulars and guidelines, and essential facts
 ii. Due diligence and compliance with law and statutory requirements
 iii. General duty to clients and public
 iv. Prohibition against bringing discredit or disrepute to real estate industry
 v. Duty to clients in relation to signing of documents
 vi. Obligations in respect of agreements
 vii. Obligation in conveying offers and counter offers
 viii. Interpretation or translation if necessary
 ix. Duties in respect of advertisements
 x. Duty to avoid conflict of interests
 xi. Recommending professional advice where appropriate
 xii. Safeguarding confidential information

The Code is part of the Estate Agents (Estate Agency Work) Regulations 2010. Click here to download the Estate Agents (Estate Agency Work) Regulations 2010.

Estate Agents (Estate Agency Work) Regulations 2010

In addition to the requirements set out in the Code, the Estate Agents (Estate Agency Work) Regulations 2010 will prohibit dual representation by salespersons (i.e. no salesperson is allowed to act for both buyer & seller or landlord & tenant in any property transaction), and prohibit estate agents and salespersons from handling cash in certain transactions or referring their clients to any moneylender. Starting from 1 January 2011 estate agents will also need to use prescribed estate agency agreement/s with their clients for the sale, purchase or lease of residential property in Singapore.

Source: CEA – Updated on 23-May-2014

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Owner’s consent required for property advertisements

Salespersons who advertise properties are required to comply with the Practice Guidelines on Ethical Advertising and the Code of Ethics & Professional Client Care. They must seek the consent of the owner before advertising the property. They are also not allowed to copy any advertisement from someone or somewhere else and claim it as their own. Their advertisements are to be cleared with their estate agent before publication.

Recently, a salesperson Shawn Cheah pleaded guilty to the charge of advertising a property without obtaining consent from the owner. The property owner saw the advertisement by Cheah on a website, and was aggrieved as he had not given his consent. Cheah was a registered salesperson of ECG Property Pte Ltd at the time of the offence. He was found quilty and ordered to pay financial penalty of $3,000.

CEA advises consumers to look out for the following when advertising properties:

  • Check that your salesperson only advertises the property after you have given your consent.
  • Your salesperson must ensure that the information on the advertisement is accurate. If the advertisement shows a photograph of the property, the photograph must not be altered or enhanced in any way. Essential data such as the floor area must be accurate. If a unit was approved by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for a specific use (e.g. commercial or industrial use), the salesperson must advertise it accurately.
  • Your salesperson must not advertise a property price or any other terms different from those that were instructed by you.
  • There should not be use of words or phrases that are against your best interest, such as “already co-broke”, “no co-broke”, “no agents”, “buyers pay commission”, in the advertisement as these phrases will limit the pool of potential interested parties who wish to buy/sell/lease.

For more consumer tips, visit www.cea.gov.sg/consumerresources

Source : CEA