Property association underwhelmed by the Property Practitioners Bill

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of Beautiful New House.

The bill aims to transform the property sector and enable small players to enter the field

The South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) is underwhelmed by the draft version of the Property Practitioners Bill released by the Department of Human Settlements, saying it lacks the reforms the association was hoping for.

The bill aims to transform the property sector and enable small players to enter the field. The bill is intended to replace the Estate Agency Affairs Board, whose mandate has been hampered by a court ruling.

Sapoa’s legal consultant, Mumtaz Moola, said that despite the association’s inputs on the proposed legislation, not much had changed since 1976 while all property practitioners had been regulated in terms of the Estate Agency Affairs Act.

“This version of the bill has not done much to address the diversified property sector. It is very much in its original form except for the addition of the ombudsman, the exemptions and the compliance and enforcement section,” she said.

The bill also needed to account for the difference between the commercial and residential property sectors in terms of the sizes of the transacting entities. “The commercial property sector naturally involves larger, stronger transacting parties who do not require the protection of the bill,” she said. Sapoa CEO Neil Gopal said the bill did not reflect Sapoa’s recommendations to find common ground on matters affecting the commercial property industry.

Noncedo Mafu, chairwoman of the portfolio committee on human settlements, urged citizens to participate in the public consultation process on the bill. Committee member and DA MP Tarnia Baker said there were questions about the new ombudsman’s mandate and what recourse practitioners would have if confidential documents were removed.