What are the duties of an estate agent in Singapore?
In Singapore, the Estate Agents Act establishes certain rules regulating estate agent duties and property transactions.
Duties of an estate agent
By way of the regulations, property agents, also known as estate agents, are no longer allowed to represent both seller/landlord and buyer/tenant for the same property transaction. They may only represent one side of transaction, to avoid a conflict of interest.
Additionally, estate agents are duty-bound to avoid any other potential conflicts of interest (such as if a party to the transaction is related to the agent) unless the client’s waiver is obtained.
The regulations also prohibit estate agents from referring their clients to moneylenders, to discourage irresponsible buying. Agents are also prohibited from holding or handling money on behalf of any party in relation to the sale or purchase of any property situated in Singapore, and the lease of HDB property.
Furthermore, under the Estate Agents Act, estate agents are required to conduct due diligence measures on their clients to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing. Failure to do so put estate agents at risk of financial penalties and suspension/revocation of their licence.
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Estate agent licence requirement
All estate agents have to pass a professional examination to obtain an estate agent license in Singapore. Furthermore, they are also obliged to undertake mandatory continuing professional development, prescribed by the Council for Estate Agencies.
Estate agents are obliged to display their licence card, and clients have a right to demand to see them.
As of 2023, there are over 34,000 estate agents in Singapore.
If you have a legitimate grievance against your estate agent, you should lodge a complaint with either the agent’s firm, or the Council for Estate Agencies, Singapore’s regulatory body overseeing estate agency matters.
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