THERE are over 100,000 real estate agents operating without a licence in Malaysia and the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEP) is tracking them to protect the local property market.
BOVAEP and the police recently conducted a joint raid on a real estate cooperative firm carrying out illegal estate agency practice.
This move is indeed timely, said the Malaysian Institute of Professional Estate Agents and Consultants (MIPEAC) president Francis SP Loh.
"More than 50 real estate frauds are being reported every month as a result of illegal real estate brokers operating in the country," said Loh.
Loh said the number of illegal and unregistered real estate brokers are becoming more rampant despite strict laws governing the acting as an agent to buying, selling and renting of real estate.
Issues on illegal real estate brokers have become speckled with unregistered firms or persons involved in acting as an agent in the selling of Malaysian properties for a fee such as property marketing firms, travel agencies, proptech companies, MM2H companies, investor funds and foreigners, too, he said.
Foreign real estate agents or developers cannot sell property on their own in Malaysia.
They are required to engage a local registered real estate agent or firm to market any foreign properties.
Loh said there are reported cases of foreign agents from countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan advertising Malaysian properties for sale, both locally and abroad; and foreign developers selling properties to Malaysians without getting BOVAEP approval.
He said buyers using the services of unregistered brokers are at risk of losing their money.
"Not only are these illegal and unregistered real estate agents and negotiators
profiteering through various fraudulent activities, they are also jeopardising the
professionalism and accountability of the real estate industry," he said.
Estate agency practices in Malaysia are governed by Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Act 1981 (Act 242) where real estate agents must be registered while real estate negotiators must be certified by BOVAEP.
Recent legislative amendments to Act 242 (Part VIII, Section 30) states that any person who acts as an estate agent whether the primary or principal object of his business is estate agency or impersonates a registered estate agent is regarded as committing an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding RM300,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both and shall be liable to a further penalty of RM1,000 for each day during the continuance of such offence.
This also apply to any person who aids and abets in the commission an offence under this Act.
"MIPEAC urge the public to come forward and lodge reports with BOVAEP and the police on any activities undertaken by illegal real estate brokers to effectively curb the problem."