ADVISORY: Can “agent” of developer collect fees to consent to sale?

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REASONABLE FEES?: Collecting fees to consent to sale of units without title is a very common practice in Malaysia by developers and their representatives. But what amount of fees is considered reasonable?

Elwin Sue@KL: A condominium developer in Kuchai Lama, Kuala Lumpur, has absconded and residents who want to sell their property can only go through one particular agent to deal with the developer. This agent can request for even more than 3 per cent commission. Do we residents have a choice by going through another intermediary?

 
RED: In your e-mail, you said that the “condo developer has run away” and yet you said that “those residents who wanted to sell their property can only deal with the developer through a particular agent”.
 
It seems to me that you can still contact the developer through their appointed “Agent”. How do you know that the “Agent” is appointed by the developer to represent them?
 
Did the “agent” produce any “Authorisation Letter” or “Appointment Letter” issued by the developer that authorises the “Agent” to act for them? If the “Agent” did produce such “letters”, was the developer’s address shown in these “letters”? Can you trace the whereabouts of the developer through these “Letters” produced by the “Agent”?
 
On the question of the “Agent”, is this “Agent” a “Real Estate Agent”? If so, you may go to the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents, Malaysia (the Board) for help.
 
The Rules of the Board stipulate that whoever appoints the real estate agent to act for him (the employer) he, the employer is the one who pays the real estate agent’s fees/commissions.
 
The Rules of the Board also stipulate that the real estate agent cannot collect his fees/commissions from two parties, that is, his employer and the other party — in this case the property owners/sellers of properties in the condominium. The real estate agent can only collect his fees/commissions from one party, usually his employer.
 
If this “Agent” is not a “Real Estate Agent”, then the Board can prosecute him for acting as a real estate agent and collecting fees/commissions that only a real estate agent is legally authorised to collect.
 
I suggest you write to the Board and provide them with the full details on what has happened and provide proof and evidence of actual commissions paid to this “Agent”. Do remember to give the Board the full name and address of the “Agent”.
The address of the Board is:
 
The Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia
 
A-27-15 Level 27, Menara UOA Bangsar,
Menara UOA Bangsar,
No. 5 Jalan Bangsar Utama 1, Bangsar, 59000
Kuala Lumpur.
Tel : 03-2288 8815/ 2288 8816/ 2288 8817
Fax : 03-22888819
 
By Dr. Ernest Cheong, Chartered Surveyor, Registered Valuer, Auctioneer, Arbitrator and Principal of Ernest Cheong PTL Chartered Surveyors.
 
Editor’s Note: To find out if it is legal for such ‘fees’ to be collected, please see NST RED (Sept 7th) issue under Advisory column.

 


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