Gov’t launches crackdown on quack real estate’s agents

Lands CAS, Gideon Mung'aro

House agents practicing illegally risk a fine of KSh1 million from the current KSh20,000 if a new bill proposal is to go by.

During a meeting by the Estate Agents Registration Board (EARB) in Nairobi on Tuesday, a law was proposed to ensure only registered professionals are allowed to conduct real estate business in the country.

EARB chairperson, Nelly Mbugua, indicated that rogue dealers don’t pay tax, leading to loss of revenue for the government. “No one can put a name to them or where their offices are. Unfortunately, there are also large institutions which are not registered.

EARB chairperson, Nelly Mbugua

“The penalties are too small, even if you try bringing them to book, it fails to have an impact,” she stated

The bill, which is at the Attorney General’s office, proposes severe penalties for real estate agents who have continued to swindle money from Kenyans.

Ms Mbugua affirmed that the board will ensure that any comments, issues or concerns raised are addressed before the bill is taken to court. She added the proposed law would change how things in the real estate business are done, ensuring only professionals are involved.

Board Tuesday held a Half-day workshop at a Nairobi hotel for registered estate agents and relevant stakeholders. The workshop whose theme was “Re-positioning Estate Agency Practice in Kenya” was opened by Lands CAS, Gideon Mung’aro.

In his remarks, the Lands CAS said that following the rapid expansion of real estate transactions in the country, there has been an increased demand for professional services in the sector; and hence infiltration of quacks causing loss of money and property by unsuspecting members of society.

Ms Mbugua said the revised Real Estate Agency legal framework is meant to regulate the sector. A recent Economic Survey showed that the real estate sector is the second largest contributor to the growth of the economy, at 10.6 per cent, preceding taxes on products at 12.0 per cent.

According to the Survey, there were over Kshs.85B worth of private building works approved and completed in Nairobi alone. The total number of private buildings issued with certificate of occupancy increased by 9.7 per cent from 10,268 in 2016 to 11,202 in 2017.

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