Stakeholders in the housing industry have welcomed the passage of the Real Estate Authority Bill, 2020.
Parliament earlier last week passed the bill which will become law pending the assent of the President.
Kelvin Nyame, is the CEO of Meqasa, an online real estate platform, believes the introduction of the bill will help sanitize the space.
“Even when you get the license, there are other measures they’ve put in place to make sure your operations are in the open and transparent. For example, we are not allowed to take cash when you help someone sell their property and you’re due commission. They want you to pass it through the bank so they can have records of that or if it was through an electronic means then they would need records of that because you have to declare that transaction to the Council, and the Council needs to keep a record of that for at least 5 years.”
“Basically, it’s trying to take away a lot of the ‘goro boys’ (Middle Men), for lack of a better word, who have been creating a bad name for the more professional agents in the market. It will also allow the government to regulate the space properly. I know we have heard issues about money laundering and all of that. Again, when you operate in secrecy and in the dark, that’s when these things happen. So, this bill is going to shine a lot of light on every single transaction that an agent does. We are happy, and just hope that it is applied properly.”
The law will regulate real estate agency practice, the conduct of real estate practitioners, commercial transactions in real estate including the sale. It also covers the purchase, rental, and leasing of real estate, as well as other real estate transactions.
It will also establish the Real Estate Agency Council to license real estate brokers, issue real estate transfer certificates, and monitor the performance of the brokers.
A memorandum of the bill underscored the need to regulate real estate agency services to rid the industry of fraud, laundering of illegal income, and tax evasion to minimize the effect of these vices on the national economy and the image of the country internationally.
The law would require a real estate broker to submit within three months after the end of each calendar year to the Council, a report covering the real estate transactions undertaken by the real estate broker and the agents of that broker in the previous year.
A person who fails to submit annual reports to the Council or fails to conspicuously display the license issued per the law would be liable to pay to the Council an administrative penalty of 1,000 penalty units.