Estate agents board warns against use of quacks as practitioners

Estate Agents Registration Board Chairperson Eunice Macharia at a media briefing in Nairobi [Denis Kibuchi, Standard]

The Estate Agents Registration Board (EARB) has warned the public against dealing with unregistered estate agents.

In a newspaper advert on Friday, the board said a practising estate agent must have a registration certificate and an annual practising certificate as per Estate Agents Act Cap 533 and issued by the board.

“For EARB to continue protecting the interest of the public and enhance professionalism in real estate, consumers are advised to deal with registered estate agents only. Ask your estate agent to provide you with the registration certificate as well as the annual practising certificate issued by the EARB,” said Hellen Abuya, registrar of the board.

The board said all registered and practicing are published in the Kenya Gazette once a year and Kenyans can very their agent through the one Vol. CXXVI issued on March 8 this year or send an email to them to inquire.

Alternatively, they can do that by searching on their website under the members' directory menu or by logging into the member portal or on the E-citizen self-service portal.

The board said any member practising as an estate agent without registration is doing so illegally and risking prosecution and also asked Kenyans to report such people.

According to Eunice Macharia, EARB chairperson, the notice was just an advisory to the public to be aware of after receiving complaints from people who have been swindled money.

“When dealing with unregistered agents, you are risking your resources, your money. And you see they are not skilled or professionals in issues in real estate and may give you incorrect information because they just want to make a sell. Also, you will not have a fallback because they can disappear with your money as a landlord. They might also demand abnormal commissions, which are not regulated," said Ms Macharia.

“We have about 3,000 who are registered out of about 10,000 in the market, mostly brokers yet we have trained estate agents who are trained in university and about 3000 graduating every year from universities,” she said.

“We have received many complainants of people being swindled their money which we refer them to police.”

The notice comes a few days after the National Treasury said it will recruit more property agents to help the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to reign landlords who evade paying income tax.

This is after the Treasury’s latest analysis for the year 2022 showed that collections from residential rental income taxes fell short of the projected Sh27 billion.

The shortfall came even after KRA said it had “simplified” the compliance among property owners by requiring them to generate an average of between Sh24,000 and Sh1.25 million every month to pay tax at the rate of 7.5 per cent of the gross earnings.

The Finance Act 2023 lowered the rate to 7.5 per cent which started being operational in January from the previous 10 per cent.

According to Section 6A of the Income Tax Act, property owners with annual rental income of between Sh288,000 and Sh15 million are supposed to file a monthly tax return declaring the gross earnings, from which tax payable is calculated at 7.5 per cent.

However, the property owners have the option of paying taxes at the standard rate of 30 per cent of profit.

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