Estate agents up in arms against illegal brokering by proptech companies

2019-03-28

PETALING JAYA (March 28): The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) wants the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEP) and the Ministry of Finance to take action against those who are circumventing the law by carrying out real estate practices illegally through property technology (proptech).

In a statement yesterday, the organisation alleged that proptech startups from Singapore and within the country are claiming that they provide real estate technology solutions but are circumventing the law by carrying out real estate practices illegally.

“Firstly, they say their tech platform is to bridge a sale or rental and help buyers and sellers or landlords and tenants. They even directly state that this is to avoid using real estate agents to help save cost. They provide real estate services, prepare tenancy agreements, collect rentals and even claim their service is better,” said MIEA in the statement..

MIEA president Eric Lim said the real estate fraternity is concerned over such claims as the law allows real estate transactions to be handled only by real estate agents, real estate negotiators and property owners.

“These proptech startups are getting braver and bolder by challenging the law. They claim to help the public sell and rent their properties and that means they are illegally operating real estate practice when they collect a fee in any shape or form,” Lim said.

MIEA has identified nine of these companies and is ready to lodge police reports on those that infringe the law.

It added that BOVAEP, the regulators of the profession of estate agent and MoF should take necessary action against these “proptech brokers” to protect the public and the laws of the country.

Proptech startups should work with the over 20,000 real estate practitioners in the country and not take over the role of agents.

“Stick to providing technology, not real estate services,” Lim said, adding that estate agents are also embracing technology in their profession,

Currently, estate agency practices in Malaysia are governed by Act 242 where real estate agents must be registered while real estate negotiators must be certified by BOVAEP.

Section 22C of the Act states that: “No person shall unless he is a registered estate agent and has been issued with an authority, practice or carry on business or take up employment under any name, style or title” while subsection 22C (1)(ba) states that they shall not “offer for sale, rent or lease or invite, offer to purchase, rent or lease any land buildings and any interest therein”.

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