PETALING JAYA (Mar 17):The Malaysian Institute of Professional Estate Agents and Consultants (MIPEAC) and the Persatuan Perunding Hartanah Muslim Malaysia (PEHAM) have urged the public to come forward and lodge reports with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEP) and the police if they come across any illegal real estate brokers.

“The number of illegal and unregistered real estate brokers is becoming more rampant despite strict laws governing the act of buying, selling and renting of real estate.

“More than 50 real estate frauds are reported every month as a result of illegal real estate brokers operating in the country,” said MIPEAC president Francis Loh in a media statement yesterday.

“Issues on illegal real estate brokers have become speckled with unregistered firms or persons acting as agents in selling properties for a fee such as property marketing firms, travel agencies, proptech companies, MM2H companies, investor funds and even foreigners,” said Loh.

He further noted that foreign real estate agents or foreign 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. There are reported cases of foreign agents from countries such as Singapore, HongKong and Japan advertising Malaysian properties for sale, both locally and abroad; and foreign developers selling properties to Malaysians without getting BOVAEP approval,” explained Loh.

He warned that buyers engaging such unregistered brokers risk losing their money.

“Not only are these illegal and unregistered brokers profiteering through various fraudulent activities, they are also jeopardising the professionalism and accountability of the real estate industry,” said Loh.

Currently, estate agency practices in Malaysia are governed by the Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Act (1981) or 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 as a registered estate agent is regarded as committing an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding RM300,000 or to an imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both and shall be liable to a further penalty of RM1,000 for each day during the continuance of such offence.

In a separate statement yesterday, PEHAM or the association of Muslim real estate consultants said an individual who wants to be an estate agent must possess recognised academic qualifications and have undergone the computerised professional competency test prescribed by BOVAEP.

“PEHAM supports BOVAEP’s efforts in upholding the integrity of the real estate agent profession.

We hope that action will be taken on firms, businesses or associations that engage in illegal real estate agency practices to safeguard the people’s interest,” said PEHAM deputy president Muzharol Muhamad.

He also advised the public to only engage with licensed real estate agents and negotiators for safer property transactions.

“The payment of deposit for the purchase and rental of a property must be into the client’s account.

Ensure negotiators carry their REN tags as well. Meanwhile, the list of registered agencies, agents and negotiators can be found on BOVAEP’s website,” explained Muhazrol.

The statements issued by MIPECA and PEHAM were in response to a joint raid last week (Mar 12) by BOVAEP and the police on a real estate cooperative firm’s office suspected of illegal real estate agency practice in Puncak Alam, Selangor. Both associations have applauded the authorities for their timely effort in curbing the problem.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) on March 14 said such action was long overdue as there were thousands of other suspected illegal real estate agents and businesses across the country.

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