Has the Property Practitioners Bill missed the point?
Are consumers offered more protection?
Parliament passed the new Property Practitioners Bill on Tuesday 4th December 2018. This bill has been on the cards before 2011!
The Bill was supposed to finally provide buyers (consumers) more protection in the secondary housing market.
However, it appears the Minister of Human Settlements and his staff and the National Assembly totally missed the point!
Here is that portion of the Bill:
Mandatory disclosure form
- A property practitioner –
- may not accept a mandate unless the seller or lessor of the property has provided him or her with a fully completed and signed mandatory disclosure in the prescribed form; and
- must provide a copy of the completed mandatory disclosure form to a prospective purchaser or lessee who intends to make an offer for the purchase or lease of a property.
- The completed mandatory disclosure form signed by all relevant parties must be attached to any agreement for the sale or lease of a property and forms an integral part of that agreement, but if such a disclosure form was not completed, signed or attached, the agreement must be interpreted as if no defects or deficiencies of the property were disclosed to the purchaser.
- A property practitioner who fails to comply with subsection (1) may be held liable by an affected consumer.
- Nothing in this section prevents the Authority from taking action against a property practitioner or imposing an appropriate sanction.
- Nothing in this section prevents a consumer, for his or her own account, from undertaking a private property inspection to confirm the state of the property before finalising the transaction.
This is the protection this Bill offers to buyers (consumers) who buy properties from sellers.
So what has changed?
Not much at all as far as the home buyer is concerned!
All of the items, 1 to 5, have been in operation for many years now! Furthermore, the majority of estate agencies and estate agents have been applying all five.
The Bill has changed the following:
- An estate agent now becomes a “Property Practitioner “.
- The EAAB (Estate Agency Affairs Board) becomes the “Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority”.
- The establishment of a Property Practitioners Omud.
So where does this leave buyers (consumers)?
Still where he or she was before!
The voetstoots clause still protects the seller and disadvantages the buyer.
Consumers (home buyers) are mostly unaware of the fact that home inspectors exist in South Africa. Inspectors can advise them on the condition of the properties they may wish to buy. Most home buyers (consumers) are not aware that they do have a choice to have a home inspection or not!
A clause in the Offer to Purchase contract should advise consumers (buyers) that they have a choice of a home inspection!
Come on, you people in the Department of Human Settlements and the National Assembly! You have advised the Property Practitioners that home buyers have a choice to have a home inspection.
Home buyers are not going to read the Bill! The financial institutions who loan home buyers the money don’t care! They are not going to advise their clients that they have a choice!
What about making consumers aware that they have a choice! Is so difficult to implement?