SAY NO TO C.A.M.P , SAY NO TO ILLEGAL AGENTS : Six-month awareness campaign unravels new methods of breaking the law
Most of the time we hear about new launching here and there, property market outlook up or down, how to invest in property, how to become a smart investor, where to buy, what to buy, market gloom and market boom but hardly the ugly side of the story- Property scam : How I was cheated or scammed
PROPCAFE received an invitation from #BOVAEA (BOARD OF VALUERS, APPRAISERS AND ESTATE AGENTS MALAYSIA) to cover a press conference to reveal several new methods that illegal agents are using to deceive Malaysians. These new methods were discovered during the recent six month awareness campaign to combat the spread of illegal brokers.
The campaign, called C.A.M.P, was organised to educate the public on the various methods used to con unsuspecting property buyers. C.A.M.P encapsulates the four main methods used by the illegal brokers, namely, “Cheating, Absconding, Misinterpretation and Profiteering.”
New threats have emerged in the property market as individuals, investors, business entities and companies have become illegal brokers in the country to cash in on new projects development opportunities. In fact, it was discovered even a highly recognizable public listed company had started a property portal to promote developer’s product. So the next time when you hear anything about public listed company, it does not mean you are safe from being cheated.
The Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA), the governing body for registered estate agents in the country said they are concerned at the apathy of these groups that disregard the law.
The issues above were discovered during a six-month campaign called C.A.M.P that was organised to educate the public on the various methods used to con unsuspecting property sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants. C.A.M.P encapsulates the four main methods used by the illegal brokers, namely, Cheating, Absconding, Misinterpretation and Profiteering.
During this campaign, BOVAEA also discovered individuals and companies using new age media to market properties illegally. An example is where web page applications (app) that urged landlords to refrain from using the services of Real Estate Agents, undermining the legal authority that encompasses the practise through an Act of parliament. Their action may cause problems and legal challenges to landlords who use their services as neither the law nor the web-based company will protect them. With the technology advancement of internet and the booming era of tech startup, a lot of activities including scam and con job been made more simple, fast and convenient. Thus when one comes to apps or website where involving money or personal info, you have to be extra sensitive and cautious. There also another thing about pre, pre pre , pre pre pre registration of property; where most of us here have experienced, there is another way to fish and collect info to create merely a database without any intention of registering you to the so called project. If you want to register for any project, go for those proper one with well-known established legal agency or developers.
President of the Board of Valuers, Appraisers & Estate Agents, Tuan Haji Faizan Bin Abdul Rahman said such incidents have increased in view of the constant demand for properties and the current challenging market.
He stressed that it is time for those who are breaking the law, to stop as the law permits only trained and competent people to market and sell real estate.
“BOVAEA has since investigated the matter and found that the listed company infringed the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981 (Act 242). We also want to reiterate that those who appoint these illegal brokers may also be contravening the law as abetting also falls under the Act,” he added.
Faizan who is also the Director General of Valuation and Property Services, said “that one of the Boards aim is to protect the public against illegal brokers and as such the public must be aware that when selling, purchasing, letting or renting they should seek the representation of registered agents and or Negotiators.” If you engage a registered real estate agent or certified negotiator, then BOVAEA can take action should there be a dispute. When using an illegal broker or firms not registered with the Board, there is little we can do to help the parties concerned. Hence we continue to urge the public to be prudent when they appoint an agent and please check their legality” he added.
Registered Estate Agents must go through 4 years of study i.e. having to have passed Part 1, Part 2 comprising 12 papers and undergo two years of practical training before sitting for the test of professional competence exam after which they are registered with the Board and as such only registered real estate agents as specified in section 22C of the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act can act as agents in selling, purchasing, letting or renting of any properties.
He said, “If a registered agent is convicted of any offence involving fraud, dishonesty, contravening or failing to comply with provisions of the Act or Rules, found guilty of professional misconduct or any conduct that is disgraceful, the Board may take punitive actions against the agent.
Punishment includes removing the agents name from the register, suspension of practice, admonishment (warning) and/or a fine.
“Dealing with registered estate agents and negotiators provides a certain standard of service and there are options for recourse should negotiations or deals go badly,” stressed Faizan. He reminded those using the services of Agents to deal with registered estate agents with an authority card or Probationary estate agents and real Estate Negotiators wearing a Red REN tag issued by BOVAEA.
He sought the cooperation of REHDA and the developers to work with the Board to make sure that those appointed by the developers are registered agents. He also pointed out that RENs who are marketing projects for developers and participating in exhibitions must carry the red tag to identify themselves.
Faizan, also said the Board is proactive and are taking quick action against such fraudulent behaviour and reminded illegal brokers that they would not tolerate infringement in any form.
He also envisaged that the Board is now actively working with the police and the AG chambers office to take action. Those found guilty under Section 30 of the Act is liable to a fine not exceeding RM 300,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.
“The Estate Agency Practice Committee (EAPC) committee is now actively monitoring and identifying such illegal activities”
Registered real estate agents are also reminded to act within the code of conduct set by the board that helps protect the public against fraud, misrepresentation and unethical practices in respect to all real estate transactions.
He also added agents and public to report such abuse to the board immediately at 603-22876666 or login at www.lppeh.gov.my or www.propertyagent.gov.my for further action.
Details of the four schemes are as follows:
Cheating would be acting dishonestly or unfairly to gain an advantage over the client. A simple example would be to conduct a sale or rental of a property with the intention to withhold information. The key word is intention. In Malaysia it is estimated that 20% of house buyers are cheated every month based on complaints received, the actual numbers may be higher.
Absconding on the other hand means running away with client’s money – usually with the deposit money. However other instances could include asking for payments to be issued in their personal names or not refunding the deposit when a sale or tenancy is aborted for a legitimate reason. It is often hard to trace an agent once he has absconded so prevention is better than cure in this case.
Misrepresentation can be a false fact or an omission of fact that could have affected the purchase decision. For example, a material fact that would have affected the decision to purchase a property. If a person masquerades as an agent, omits facts of the land status, lease period or even termite infestation, it is deemed as misinterpretation as well.
Profiteering may refer to situations when someone attempts to take advantage of circumstances to make excessive profits. It is the generation of unfair or unauthorised profits through manipulation of prices. Collecting higher fees than as prescribed by law or collecting a differential sum from the vendor’s price and selling price is also considered profiteering.
My friends, there are unprofessional and unethical brokers out there. These bad apples usually give a very bad name and in general will tarnish the reputation of those true professional agents in long run.
If you smell something like MLM, Sure, Guaranteed or like the money FALL FROM THE SKY , please be double triple more careful! Be extra cautious, be skeptical because greed might blind our intelligence. It does not discriminate and it can happen to anyone of us at anytime and anywhere.
Equip yourself with knowledge, please don’t save on the agent fee and go get a reputable established real estate agent/broker/negotiator. Do you need help for recommending a good property real estate agency from PROPCAFE?
The Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia was set up in 1981 under the purview of the Ministry of Finance, Malaysia. The setup and operation of this Board is governed by the provision of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981 and the Rules 1986. Its primary function is to regulate the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents practising in Malaysia.