PETALING JAYA (June 8): A fresh crop of fraud cases involving illegal property brokers making headlines have prompted the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA) to issue yet another warning to the public against dealing with such agents as they put their life’s savings at risk.
In a statement today, BOVAEA president Datuk Faizan Abdul Rahman highlighted the latest reported case – that of an unregistered broker in Johor Bahru who was convicted of fraud and consequently sentenced to 16 years’ jail and 30 strokes of the cane.
He stressed that the person was neither a registered real estate agent (REA) nor a certified real estate negotiator (REN).
He also urged the public to cross-check any real estate agents’ identity through BOVAEA’s websites – www.propertyagent.gov.my or www.lppeh.gov.my – to protect themselves.
“A registered real estate agent is a person who has passed the board’s [BOVAEA] examinations and registered with the board whereas a REN is certified by BOVAEA and employed by a REA who is directly responsible for their conduct and actions,” he emphasised.
REAs are bound by strict laws and under the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981, all monies collected are to be deposited in a client’s account and protected by professional indemnity insurance.
The board can deregister, suspend or fine the REAs if they commit an offence and report to the police on cases of cheating.
This is the mechanism to protect the public at large. It is also a law that prevents people from selling property for a fee if they are not a REA or working as a REN with a real estate firm.
A REA can easily be identified by their authority card, while certified RENs carry red identity tags imbedded with a Quick Response (QR) code, so customers can scan the code with their smartphones to ascertain his status as a REN.
The fraud incidents can be avoided if buyers and property owners ask simple questions and check the registration of the said practitioners.
“I strongly urge everyone to apply this method to ensure you are being assisted by these practitioners to avoid any complications in the sale or purchase. Do not use brokers – you are asking for trouble,” he said.
According to the press statement, there are a large number of fraud cases involving smaller amounts of money that go unreported.
He urged members of the public to lodge police reports if they find themselves in a similar situation and keep the board informed of such cases.
“Official complaints are also on the rise and while BOVAEA has been keeping tab on the situation and educating the public about such illegal brokers, there seems to be a lackadaisical attitude on the part of the public to be self-vigilant in dealing with illegals,” he added.
Meanwhile, he said BOVAEA and the police are collaborating to combat this problem and steps are being taken to identify and prosecute such illegal brokers.
Source : theedgeproperty.com.my