Aspiring estate agents from disadvantaged backgrounds will receive a major lifeline from April 1 when the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) implements a first-of-its kind resolution to help them gain entry to the lucrative profession.

The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB). Image credit: EAAB

The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB). Image credit: EAAB

The resolution intends to make it easier for persons from previously disadvantaged backgrounds with a turnover of less than R5-million a year to enter the predominantly white industry. EAAB chief executive Mamodupi Mohlala said the PDI resolution was aligned with the newly legislated Property Practitioners Act which calls for the transformation of the property sector.

Out of the almost 46 000 recognised estate agents, 28 171 are white while just under 6 000 are black with Indians and Coloured people making up 4 000. “The EAAB recognises historic challenges that continue to be a barrier for PDIs wanting to enter the real estate markets and this intervention is just one measure to address this anomaly,” says Mohlala.

In essence, the PDI resolution, approved last year, exempts black people who can prove that they are previously disadvantaged, from all regulatory fee requirements, including for Fidelity Fund Certificates (FFCs), financial audits and mandatory fees for education and training. Mohlala says the regulator will implement the resolution on 1 April 2020 – a notice thereof will be published in the government gazette, the EAAB’s website and Agent magazine and one national newspaper.

A dedicated panel of executives from various departments within the EAAB will adjudicate the application process in terms of Section 27 of the Estate Agency Affairs Act. The panel will make recommendations to the CEO who will then present it to the board for approval. “We are intent on implementing the laws of this country, which include transformation, but most critically we are in full compliance with the constitution of this country that allows for reverse discrimination in order to address historical imbalances and we believe that is the key rational for this resolution,” Mohlala says.

The period of exemption is five years subject to annual review based on submitted financials and other required documents. Mohlala says the exemption would be revoked if the financial status of the PDI beneficiary changes during the review period. She stresses that although PDIs will be exempted from paying for education and training, they will have to meet all training requirements to preserve the professionalism and credibility of the profession.

The initiative was welcomed by African Women Co-ordinated Investments CEO Elizabeth Sangion who said financial and other challenges facing budding black estate agents was a “big problem”.

“It’s a tragedy that someone is blocked from operation as estate agents just because they can’t afford to do financial audits. I hope this resolution will go a far way in transforming the industry. We welcome this initiative,” says Sangion.