A new statutory group will be set up, and new regulations for the industry put in place to raise the professionalism of the real estate agency industry.
The Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) under the Ministry of National Development (MND) will replace the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore's (IRAS') as the licensing authority for real estate agencies.
MND will introduce a Bill in Parliament in the second half of this year to set up the new Council and to establish the new regulatory framework.
More stringent criteria
Real estate agencies will have to satisfy new and more stringent conditions to qualify for their licences.
For instance, the licensees must not be undischarged bankrupts, possess criminal records involving fraud or dishonesty, or have previous track records of complaints as agents.
They also need to comply with a Code of Practice that stipulates systems and processes for areas such as agents' training, complaints handling and dispute resolution.
Agencies will also be expected to exercise effective supervision of their agents and take responsibility for their actions. To enable agencies to do so, all estate agents are to contract with only one agency.
As part of the new registration requirements, estate agents will need to pass a mandatory industry examination, and undertake mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) of six hours a year. The number of CPD hours will be increased over time to raise the professional standards of the industry.
Measures aimed at avoiding a conflict of interest, such as the dual representation of both the buying and selling parties, will be put in place.
Next: Discipline and dispute resolution >>