AA - Aug 2020

Author: Jan le Roux
Chief Executive of Rebosa
20 August 2020

The ‘reprieve’ that is no reprieve

The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) announced on the 14th of February that 87 agents benefited from a special re-admittance practice note published in June last year. This is to accommodate agents who have not applied for renewal of their Fidelity Fund Certificates (FFC) for three years or more and allows them to pay the “debt” over 6, 12 or 16 months.

This is not a reprieve because charging these penalties is simply not in accordance with the Act or the Regulations.

The Court of Appeal defined an estate agent in Rogut vs Rogut in 1982 as follows:

‘Estate agent’ means any person who, for the acquisition of gain on his own account or in partnership, in any manner holds himself out as a person who, or directly or indirectly advertises that he, on the instructions of or on behalf of any other person- … .’

Holding a FFC does not define one as an estate agent, it only allows one to trade legally and earn commission. The reverse is also true – should you be holding a FFC but not “hold yourself out” as an estate agent (see the definition above) you are not an estate agent.

Should one therefore neglect to advise the EAAB of one’s intention to cease trading one still ceases to be an estate agent when not “holding oneself out” as one.

Should one re-apply after three years, as per the notification, one cannot be penalised as an estate agent for the period during which one did not hold oneself out to be one. In short – the EAAB over that period of absence simply had no jurisdiction over one.

The EAAB’s press release (see below) also incidentally refers to individuals who “apply for re-admittance” under the practice note. This is the absolutely correct term as it relates to an individual who wants to become an estate agent yet again but who has not been for some time.

Charging a penalty under these circumstances is neither fair nor legal.

Instead of assisting agents with this practice notice, the EAAB actually denied at least 87 people the right to trade because they could not pay an unwarranted penalty.

The current Schedule of Fees 2019/2020 is also in conflict with the regulation, specifically with regards to the registration of principals. The determined fee is R1200, yet the Schedule of Fees incorrectly states R1958. The EAAB can only charge fees in accordance with the regulations (See below).

This was raised on several occasions with the EAAB and a legal opinion in respect of both instances was communicated to the CEO of the EAAB on 2 July this year – neither an acknowledgement of receipt nor any response has been forthcoming as yet.

(The CEO and the EAAB media liaison were approached for comment on these matters but as yet have not responded or indicated if or when comments will follow. Editor.)

About the author: Jan le Roux is the chief executive of Rebosa, an independent non-profit organisation that represents the best interests of business owners and principals of small, medium and large estate agencies operating in the residential real estate sector of South Africa.

The original article can be viewed here: