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SG CEA "aware" of under-the-radar property sales

Property Here - Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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By Andrew Batt:

More than two years after the formation of the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) with the aim of regulating the buying and selling of property in the city state, a number of unlicensed real estate agents are continuing to sell overseas property to local buyers in direct breach of current laws.

By doing so they are risking fines, imprisonment or both – and the CEA is aware and watching.

PropertyGuru understands that low-profile events take place each week where ‘experts’ – usually in the guise of a market update presentation, or through an information session about how to make money from property investing which then turns in a sale pitch. 

Several buyers who contacted PropertyGuru after attending one of the sessions felt they were pressed into buying something they neither wanted nor knew enough about. They are now seeking legal redress.

These ‘property sales’ events are very much under the radar. You will not see them being promoted in the mass media. Attendees are normally invited to attend by SMS, generally with their details having been passed on by someone known to them who will benefit from a referral fee if a sale is made.

Although the number of such events in Singapore is still small, it’s certainly on the rise.

When contacted by PropertyGuru, CEA’s Deputy Director (Licensing) Mr Yeap Soon Teck, said: "The Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) is aware that some foreign estate agents and salespersons are conducting estate agency work in Singapore without licence or registration, and is currently investigating some cases."  

"CEA takes a serious view of foreign estate agents and salespersons who come to Singapore to conduct estate agency work, without being licensed or registered by CEA. Under the Estate Agents Act and Regulations, only estate agents licensed by and salespersons registered with CEA are allowed to conduct estate agency work in Singapore. Foreign estate agents who conduct estate agency work in Singapore without a licence or registration may be fined or imprisoned, or both." 

"Estate agents who are not licensed to carry out estate agency work in Singapore may instead tie up with licensed estate agents when marketing overseas property developments in Singapore. Overseas developers may also choose to sell their overseas properties in Singapore through their own staff. Such transactions which do not involve estate agents are direct sales from the developers and therefore not regulated by CEA."

"When marketing property, estate agents and salespersons have to comply with the Estate Agents Act and its Regulations, such as the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care and the Practice Guidelines on Ethical Advertising. Some requirements are that they must provide accurate information on the property, and state the basis and source of data in their marketing information." 

He added: "The CEA will not hesitate to take disciplinary action against any estate agent or salesperson for such infringement."

 

Andrew Batt, International Group Editor of PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories email andrew@allproperty.com.sg