Protecting Property Owners: The Role of the Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe

In an interview with the Structure and Design (S&D) Magazine, Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe Chairperson Nico Kuipa (NK) said that registered estate agents should be used by property owners to manage their mandates because they promptly submit statements and remit rental procedures to property owners.

Additionally, he stated that in accordance with the terms of the management agreement, registered estate agents ask property owners for permission to pay for various charges like repairs and upkeep. Below are excerpts from the interview.

S&D: What is the Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe and what are its main functions?
NK: The Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe (Council) was created as a statutory body in the 1970s in terms of the Estate Agents Act [Chapter 27:17]
to register estate agents and regulate the practice of estate agencies in Zimbabwe. The Council regulates and supervises estate agents and agencies,
as well as the operation of the Estate Agents Compensation Fund (CF). The compensation fund was created with the intention of compensating the public who might suffer financial losses when dealing with registered estate agents. In property management and sales, estate agents serve a vital and crucial intermediary role by liaising with sellers, buyers, landlords, and tenants.

S&D: Is the Council aware of fraud cases involving unregistered estate agents?
NK: The Council is aware that bogus agents have penetrated the real estate market and are defrauding Zimbabweans of their hard-earned money. Fake agents are those who operate illegally as estate agents in the business of property management and sales without adhering to registration regulations.

S&D: What remedial measures is the Council implementing to safeguard the public from bogus agents?
NK: The Council has Research and Publicity and Compliance departments responsible for monitoring print, electronic, and online advertising spaces to identify and deal with bogus estate agents. All identified fraudsters are reported to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and prosecuted through the courts as per the provisions of the Estate Agents Act. We constantly advise the public to deal with registered agents to avoid being defrauded of their hard-earned cash. Registered estate agents are required by law to have Compensation Fund Certificates issued and renewed annually by the Council. The Compensation Fund serves as insurance and is there to compensate the public who may lose funds when dealing with registered estate agents. Moreover, registered estate agents are required to open trust accounts for the purposes of banking clients’ funds. Funds held in this account can only be withdrawn at the instigation of the seller or buyer as the case may be following required due process.

S&D: What can the public do to help in the fight against criminality involving estates?
NK: A multi-stakeholder approach is necessary to combat fake agents. As a result, the Council, real estate professionals, and the general public must all exert effort. Through email at compofficer@eac. co.zw, compofficer1@eac.co.zw, or through social media sites like Facebook (Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe) and Twitter (@EacZim), the public can always report offenses involving stolen property to the Council. We also urge individuals to report crimes involving property to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

S&D: What is your message to property owners?
NK: Property owners should engage registered estate agents to manage their mandates. Registered agents remit rental procedures to property owners as well as send statements to clients timeously. They also seek the authority of property owners on payments of some expenses such as repairs and maintenance depending on provisions in the management agreement. Property owners should not hesitate to report agents who do not honour lease
obligations on properties to the Council.


 

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