No Unscrupulous Dealers Wanted In Real Estate

Real estate companies were yesterday told to work within the ambit of the law and ensure that the industry was clean of unscrupulous dealers. The Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism,
03 Jul 2017 11:00
No Unscrupulous Dealers Wanted In Real Estate
Newly elected President of the Association Vyas Deo Sharma and Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya at the Real Estate’s Annual General Meeting. Photo: Charles Chambers.

Real estate companies were yesterday told to work within the ambit of the law and ensure that the industry was clean of unscrupulous dealers.

The Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources, Faiyaz Koya, while addressing the Annual general Meeting of the Real Estate Agents said this was because Government was taking steps to make affordable housing available for all Fijians.

Mr Koya said this was why Government introduced the Real Estate Agents Act in 2006 which then regulated the real estate industry in Fiji.

“This was in terms of licensing agents and their sales staff.”

“The Real Estate Agents Licensing Board (REALB) in this regard, has been adequately resourced by Government as part of its commitment to clean up the real estate sector.”

“The real estate industry is an important part of the Fijian economy. The growth of the real estate industry is closely linked to the performance of the economy – a strong economy leads to strong growth in the real estate industry.”

While reiterating on the growth of the economy and the Budget, Mr Koya said this was the first time in Fijian history that the economy had grown positively for 8 consecutive years.

“That in a nutshell, is a positive and a promising indication of our prospects as a country. It simply means that the stable, sound and pro-growth policies of the Fijian Government have been bearing fruit and we will continue to provide an environment that leads to increased employment and better livelihood, especially for our grassroot communities.”

He said there was a great demand for housing, especially in the major urban centres and this continues to increase.

“For this reason, various policy changes have been undertaken to ensure that affordable residential properties are available to ordinary Fijians.”

“The Government Grant Scheme, which is under the First Home Buyer programme, is a good example. The Scheme encourages home ownership, for individuals or couples with an annual income or joint annual income of not more than $50,000.”

“Also in the 2017-2018 National Budget, the Reserve Bank of Fiji in conjunction with the Fijian Government, have increased funding for affordable homes from $25 million to $60 million. This again is an indication of how true the Government is, towards providing the best for all Fijians.  Another initiative is through the increasing stamp duties on non-resident transfer of strata titles.”

He reassured the real estate industry that their suggestions and recommendations would be taken on board by his Ministry through REALB.

“Which is why today’s meeting is extremely important, in terms of bringing together all the members of the Association, to effectively deliberate on the way forward for the Association.”

“As the Minister responsible for consumer protection, I would like to see all stakeholders in the real estate industry working together, familiar with the rules and procedures pertaining to property transactions and ensuring that consumers’ rights are protected.

“In the meantime, to improve the implementation of the Act, a number of regulations will be developed and these include:

Standardized agency agreements between the real estate agents and their clients,

Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care,

Prescribed examinations for salespersons, and

Stronger provisions on commission payable to real estate agents.

“In addition to these, the Ministry and the Fiji Commerce Commission have finalized the draft Residential Tenancy Bill and is currently with the Solicitor General’s Office.”

“The Bill will provide protection to both parties, the landlord and the tenant, in terms of prescribing the rights and responsibilities of each party.”

New elected Office bearers: President Vyas Deo Sharma; Vice Presidents Aren Nunnink, Charan Jeet Shergill, Sakeo Lelekilagi; General Secretary Anand Gounder; Assistant General Secretary Shasi Prasad; Treasurer Romill Prakash; Committee members Sohan Lal, Mohammed Ahmed, Chandra Mani.

Edited by: Selita Bolanavanua




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