Unlicensed agents, especially the illegal brokers operating everywhere in Malaysia today should be aware that a fine of up to RM300,000 awaits them if they are caught. This is a warning from the past Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) national president Nixon Paul. According to him, the problems of illegal agents are not happening all over the country due to the lack of enforcement and public awareness. I think the public is aware but majority chose to close one eye since they are paying the illegal ones much lower or in some cases, even none. 🙂 The illegal agents are operating against Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents Act 1981.
There has been many cases of owners being cheated of their money and deposits. This is the norm because without any black and white documentation and the cheque being issued to the agency instead of the person himself/herself, no one is assured of whether the money would eventually go to the seller or given back to the buyer should the transaction not go through. At this moment there are 2,000 registered real estate agents in Malaysia. These illegals are also affecting the reputation of legal agents and the industry overall as most of the time, these illegal agents under-delivered or presented inaccurate information. Nixon also related a case about an illegal agent who attempted to sell a shoplot to a buyer. The illegal agent promised to return the deposit if the buyer fails in his loan application. The buyer’s loan was rejected and the agent disappeared with the money even though the case was brought to court.
What about the media which these agents use? Nixon said that, as an example, if I portray myself as a legal agent when I am not, even the newspaper is wrong! Thus, it is a responsibility of the media to ensure that the advertisements that they are printing are real and not just print when they are paid by these illegal agents. I have not seen any newspapers being punished over such cases before. Perhaps Nixon should catch and punish the first case and all these would straighten out itself.
Last but not least his advise to house buyers would be that even if the transaction goes through, there is nothing in the law which says that the illegal agent has to be paid. Thus, perhaps this is the best way for buyers to save some money and for the illegal ones to be taught a lesson? I still think, owners should just allow the agents to carry out the transaction professionally. Why the hassle should something bad really happen? It’s not just the money, it may also be the time if you have to go to the court to try to recover your money. Worth the risk? You decide, sellers.
New Update: As at 29th May 2014, it is now 1 licensed agent to 30 REAs. Thanks to a reader Wong for the update. Deeply appreciated. Latest info can be read here: http://miea.com.my/site/index.php?cat=23
written on 23 May 2014
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