The Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe (EACZ) has exposed at least 75 bogus estate agents masquerading as bona fide, putting up advertisements on both traditional and modern media platforms without meeting registration requirements.
According to the Estate Agents Act, it is a requirement that everyone working in the industry registers with the council for accountability, with two critical registration conditions being having at least one principal registered estate agent, that is a fully qualified agent, and having a compensation fund.
Many of the estate agents are not in possession of compensation fund certificates, and the exposed individuals and organisations have been working illegally without complying with registration requirements.
A compensation fund certificate is issued yearly by the EACZ under the company’s name, and should include the Principal Registered Estate Agent (PREA)’s name. The certificate is supposed to be displayed in the reception area of every agency.
Among estate agents that have been exposed because they have no compensation fund certificate are Destiny Land Developers, Countrywide Property Consultants, Dale Upmarket Real estate, Goodwin Accommodations and Glory Zone (Pvt) Ltd Consultancy.
In a statement last Thursday, EACZ warned home seekers to be wary of bogus estate agents who are masquerading as its members with the intention of swindling people of their money.
“The Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe (EACZ) is concerned with the proliferation of bogus agents fleecing members of the public of their funds on houses to let and for sale scams.
“Property selling and management is a legislated activity that should only be handled by registered agents who are trained and experienced to handle Estate Agency work.
“Some members of the public are victims of bogus estate agents, who frequently win them over by making advertisements on both traditional and modern media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp,” reads the statement.
“These fake estate agents are using both mainstream and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to advertise and fleece innocent citizens of hard-earned cash.
For the safety and protection of the public, EACZ, advised the general public to deal with registered estate agents only.
“When dealing with agents, the public is advised to request that they be shown the firm’s current year Compensation Fund Certificate and the Personal Registration Certificate of the estate agent.”
Further, EACZ said the two certificates should have their authenticity checked with them through email or by physically visiting EACZ offices located at 18 McChlery Avenue in Eastlea, Harare.
“The public is guaranteed protection through the Compensation Fund and professional- ism through training and EACZ regula tion when they deal only with registered estate agents.
“However, they have no recourse when they are duped by bogus or unregistered agents.”
More often than not, the agents vanish upon receiving the cash and fail to facilitate the acquisition of accommodation by the home seekers.
The EACZ is a regulatory body formed many years ago through an Act of Parliament to oversee the registration of estate agents and the regulation of their conduct in Zimbabwe. Property selling and management is a legislated activity that should only be handled by registered agents who are trained and experienced to handle Estate Agency work.
EACZ does an audit every year so as to check whether there are any irregularities in the operations of estate agencies. Once a real estate agent audit report is approved they must contribute towards the compensation fund.