The Real Estate Agents Licensing Board (REALB) received 30 complaints from January to November this year, compared to 25 in the same period last year.
The top four categories of complaints were unethical practices by agents/salespersons, bond and deposit refunds, non- disclosure of information, and bogus agents.
The existence of bogus agents continues to be an ongoing concern for the Board, according to the Registrar Mr Peni Komainavoka, who has urged the public to be cautious when engaging the services of a real estate agent or salesperson.
Mr Komainavoka said that the two bogus agent complaints received by the REALB this year have been referred to the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for further investigation.
He says these illegal agents have scammed their way into the sector, offering services which they are not licensed to undertake and targeting unsuspecting consumers.
"Anyone can be a victim of a scam regardless of age, qualification, or gender, no group or individual is more susceptible than others,” Mr Komainavoka said.
He encouraged the general public to check and verify the agent’s and salesperson’s identification cards before engaging in any transaction with them.
"All REALB- registered agents and salespersons are provided with ID cards, that clearly state their names, agency, license numbers, and license expiry date."
This same information is provided in the online Public Register available on the REALB website, www.realbfiji.comor can be verified by calling the REALB office on 3300355.
Signs that someone is a bogus agent
No ID card when asked to present one;
Rushing into the deal without giving important written information that the client should know; and
No proper place of business. They usually hang out in coffee shops, restaurants, and main streets of towns and cities, discussing business.
Section 15 of the Real Estate Agents Act 2006 states that no person shall carry on the business of a real estate agent unless he or she holds a REALB license.
Such license allows practicing individuals to undertake real estate activities for a commission, whether it be assisting in the sale, rental, leasing or managing properties.
A person convicted of operating an agency without a valid real estate agent's license faces up to three years in prison or a maximum $50,000 fine.
2022 Complaints Fact File Unethical Conduct- 10 cases Bond/Refund/Settlement and Deposit- 8 Information Disclosure- 3 Tenancy Issue- 3 Bogus Agent- 2 Others- 4