THE EDITOR, Madam:
The Real Estate Board is again sounding the alarm for members of the public to check with them before engaging the services of real estate dealers or salesmen. This comes against the background of a case currently in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court involving a real estate salesman accused of accepting millions of dollars from a complainant for the purchase of land the salesman was not authorised to sell.
CEO of the Real Estate Board, Sandra Garrick, has said that this kind of story is not unique and is, therefore, quite troubling, based on the fact that a quick check with the board could have avoided such an occurrence. The member search section of our website is filtered by dealer, salesman, developer, and development. The site will show his or her licence number, contact information, and the more current licensed period.
She went on to say that in this particular case, such a check would have indicated that the salesman in question had not been licensed with the Board for over two years, and, therefore, not legally allowed to practice.
This is a first step in what may be a broader due-diligence process. Other steps may include the use of a conveyancing attorney or checks with other regulatory bodies such as the National Land Agency, where the title may be examined. These safeguards may give further insight into the rightful owner, and/or authorisation to sell the land or property in question.
Members of the public are further advised that they can lodge complaints with the board against a real estate professional involving any kind of impropriety. The board will, where necessary, refer matters to the police, especially those involving forgery of documents or breaches of the Larceny Act such as Fraudulent Conversion and obtaining money under false pretence.
The board also has the authority to enact its own disciplinary action, most commonly, the suspension or revocation of a licence to practise real estate. This may be in relation to various breaches under its parent legislation, the Real Estate (Dealers and Developers) Act. These breaches include practising without a licence; professional misconduct; failure to lodge pre-payment monies into a trust account and reporting these to the Board; failure to account for clients monies when called on to do so; and undertaking duties and responsibilities for which he or she is not properly registered or licensed to do.
The board is also using this opportunity to remind current or prospective real estate professionals that subject to The Real Estate (Dealers and Developers) Act S.35 (4)(a)(ii), it will not register or maintain the licence of anyone convicted of a crime related to real estate, or has an undischarged bankruptcy charge against him or her.
The Real Estate Board
LINK ORIGINAL: Jamaica Gleaner