More warnings, fines given to errant real estate agents

The number of warnings and fines issued to real estate agents rose sharply as the Council for Estate Agencies clamped down on unethical and unprofessional behaviour, according to the industry watchdog's annual report released on Thursday. -- PHOTO: S
The number of warnings and fines issued to real estate agents rose sharply as the Council for Estate Agencies clamped down on unethical and unprofessional behaviour, according to the industry watchdog's annual report released on Thursday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The number of warnings and fines issued to real estate agents rose sharply as the Council for Estate Agencies clamped down on unethical and unprofessional behaviour, according to the industry watchdog's annual report released on Thursday.

For the twelve months ending March 31 this year, there were 644 letters of advice or warnings issued to estate agents and salespersons, more than double the 287 issued the year before.

There were also 32 composition fines meted out, up from just 6 a year ago.

And more errant agents or salespersons were taken to court or disciplined. There were 19 cases of court prosecution, up from 7 previously, and 17 cases of disciplinary action, also up from 7 before.

All this is despite fewer complaints being received last year. There were 751 complaints, the most common of which - 42 per cent - had to do with advertisements and flyers. This is down from 880 a year before, with 36 per cent related to advertisements and flyers.

Against the backdrop of a sluggish property market, fewer people chose to become estate agents. Of the 1,449 licensed estate agents last year, only 81 were new. A year ago, there were 1,495 agents including 235 new entrants.

The number of registered salespersons, however, rose to 33,498 from 32,982 a year ago. This was despite a fall in the number of new salespersons, with only 3,061 joining up, compared to 4,289 the year before.