The Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) regulates the real estate agencies industry by ensuring that estate agents and sales staff (commonly known as property agents) abide by the Estate Agents Act and adhere to a set of practice guidelines to safeguard consumer interests in their property transactions, and raise professionalism in the industry ("Questionable handling of complaint against estate agent" by Ms Catherine Cheong Wai Shan; March 31).
Under the Estate Agents Act, it is an offence for an agent to represent both the landlord and the tenant, and to collect commissions from both parties.
CEA takes a firm and fair approach in investigating complaints.
Upon receiving Ms Cheong's feedback, we sought information and verification from the relevant parties for our investigation to determine if the sales staff received commission from more than one party.
These included the estate agent responsible for the sales staff.
Through our checks, there was insufficient evidence to indicate that the sales staff received commission from more than one party, hence, we informed Ms Cheong that a case of dual representation could not be made out.
Ms Cheong also commented that CEA had advised her on how a sales staff could protect himself against complaints of dual representation.
Our reply to her on Feb 3 was in response to her specific query on Feb 1 on conflicts of interest in the case of the sales staff's duties after the tenancy agreement is signed and the property is handed over, and not about dual representation.
We, therefore, explained to her how sales staff should disclose conflicts of interest.
Heng Whoo Kiat
Deputy Director (Licensing)
Council for Estate Agencies
This article was first published on April 23, 2015.
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