An association of Fiji real estate agents has been formally registered, with elections of office bearers to be held soon.
This was confirmed by Property Experts agent, Johnny Singh at discussions for Nadi realtors hosted at the Nadi Civic Centre on June 2 by the Real Estate Agents Licensing Board (REALB).
The Board had been pushing for an association to better represent the interests of agents, salespersons and general real estate practitioners, and has lauded this latest progress.
“From July 27– which is the new financial year- the association will be able to apply for a grant to the Ministry of Trade and Tourism, so we urge everyone to take ownership because this will help agents and other younger professionals who are entering the industry,” said Board acting CEO and Registrar, Virisila Tuimanu.
In line with its gazette, she also confirmed that they would soon publish lists of valid, invalid and expired license holders.
“Lawyers cannot be agents and so cannot be given licenses to act as such, under the Real Estate Act, and nor can auctioneers be regarded as agents either. Our compliance team is currently looking at complaints against agents and unregistered agents. The validity of licenses cannot be under a year nor exceed five years, and agents must apply for renewals two months prior to the expiry of their licenses. Not many do this and they need to,” Tuimanu noted.
She added that both agents and members of the public could object to license renewals and they Board could consider their protests accordingly, and that licenses could be surrendered voluntarily by agents wanting to end their practise.
Additionally, she said short-term permits were available for specific transactions, permits that run for a certain scheduled period, whereby holders could apply for an extension upon expiry.
This provision objected to by several agents at the talanoa discussion.
“These short-term licenses are unfair on usual agents who work to sell properties for many months, so instead of being handed these types of licenses, they should assist agents with the sale of properties,” said Vector Real Estate agent, Amrish Maharaj.
“We spend so much money on business, so why should one person be granted a permit without incurring the usual, hefty expenditure?” added Sam Mani, principal of Paradise Realtors.
With the Real Estate Act undergoing a review, she said objections to the granting of short-term licenses could be raised or submitted for consideration.
“From the realtors’ point, it could deprive them of business. Over the last year, new applications for permits have been received, including those from overseas agents- which is a big process through the Immigration Department and Investment Fiji,” Tuimanu noted.
REALB Compliance & Monitoring officer, Vinal Singh reminded realtors to file their rental income reports with the Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority (FRCA), which earlier noted that many former Fiji residents who now reside overseas still derived income from renting out their properties here and had rent collected by real estate agents and other parties or management on their behalf.
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