Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  12 Apr 2011

PROPERTY: CPA ‘Not An Agent Killer’


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Many comments made recently on the implementation of the new Consumer Protection Act (CPA) suggest that it will rock the real estate industry to its foundations.

“However I don’t think that is going to happen,” says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group. “Of course the new legislation is going to be a big issue for us, and of course we are not faultless, but our industry does have a history of being proactive and positive when it comes to consumer protection so I’m sure we’ll manage very well.”

Writing in the latest Property Signposts newsletter, he says: “We should remember that estate agents initiated and policed their own strict Code of Conduct many decades ago, long before it was written into the Estate Agents Act.

“And since then, only a tiny percentage of the number of agents registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board have been found guilty of contravening that code to the detriment of any consumer.

“What is more, many real estate companies have been preparing for months already in anticipation of the CPA coming into force, by changing their sale and lease agreements to ‘plain language’ documents that are easy for consumers to understand, and conducting extensive information and training sessions to refresh their agents’ understanding of the consumer’s rights in a property transaction.

“In short, I think the way the CPA affects us is going to come down to how we communicate with our customers, and my belief is that those companies that have put in the effort to build solid relationships with their customers, act on incoming information and deliver proper feedback will have very few problems with the CPA.”

Meanwhile, Everitt says, the CPA is unlikely in any way to dampen the demand for housing, which has been showing a steady increase all around the country since the last quarter of 2010.

“Even more encouraging is the fact that - thanks to lower home prices, lower interest rates and improved home loan approval rates – that demand is increasing fastest in the lower and middle-income segments of the market, which hold the keys to an overall recovery.”

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