Every estate agent must have an FFC
In terms of the Estate Agency Affairs Act (112 of 1976), every estate agent and estate agency firm must obtain a Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC) from the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB). It's illegal to operate as an estate agent unless the EAAB has issued you with an FFC for the current calendar year. It's also illegal to claim commission if you didn't have a valid FFC at the time you rendered the services to the client.
This applies not only to agents who sell residential property, but also to letting agents, commercial and industrial property brokers, agricultural property agents, business brokers, and agents who "exhibit" properties which are for sale or to let (e.g. 'showhouse sitters').
Renewal of FFCs
The renewal process is supposed to work as follows:
• the EAAB posts you a renewal notice
• you fill in the notice, pay the renewal fee into the EAAB's bank account (quoting the seven-digit reference number printed on the notice), and post the completed notice back to them
• the EAAB processes your payment, posts you a new FFC, and puts your details on the list of registered agents on its website.
The renewal process hasn't been working properly for the past year or two. Many estate agents have complained that they've paid their renewal fees, but haven't received their FFCs. Possible reasons for this are:
• the agent didn't quote the reference number with the payment – the EAAB then has no way of knowing whose payment it is
• the estate agency firm's principal hasn’t renewed his/her FFC – the firm's non-principal and intern estate agents then won't be able to renew theirs until the principal's has been renewed
• the estate agency firm hasn't submitted its audit report for the previous financial year and has therefore been suspended – the firm is then not allowed to trade, and its agents won't be issued with FFCs until the overdue audit report has been submitted
• the EAAB is having administrative problems.
Solutions to renewal problems
If you've paid your FFC renewal fee, and haven't received your new FFC within, say, six weeks, take action before your current FFC expires! A bank printout showing that you've paid the money into the EAAB's account isn't good enough. You can:
• check your bank printout to make sure that you quoted the reference number with the payment – if you didn't, contact the EAAB's FFC renewal department
• check the EAAB's website to see how you're listed (go to www.eaab.org.za, click on 'Registered Agent/ Agency', then 'Agent', type in your surname, and click on 'Search')
• if you're listed as 'valid', contact the EAAB's FFC renewals department
• if you're listed as 'invalid', check to see if your firm is listed as 'valid' or 'invalid' (click on 'Registered Agent/Agency', then 'Agency', type in your firm's name, and click on 'Search')
• if your firm is listed as 'valid', contact the EAAB's FFC renewals department
• if your firm is listed as 'invalid' because it hasn't submitted its audit report, speak to the firm's principal – the problem evidently lies there, not with the EAAB.
If your firm has submitted its audit report, but is listed as 'invalid', the principal should contact the EAAB's audit report department. The EAAB's contact details are:
Tel: 011 731 5665 Fax: 086 613 8773
Tel: 011 731 5627 Fax: 086 613 8766
If you exhaust these avenues and still haven't solved your problem, contact your local Institute of Estate Agents office. Please note: We are only able to assist members of our organisation.
Re-issue of FFCs
If any of the details on your FFC changes, e.g. you move to another firm, you must notify the EAAB, within fourteen days. The EAAB will then issue you with a new FFC, which will be valid for the remainder of the current calendar year. This FFC will have a different number to your previous FFC.
Supplying FFC details to the IEASA
Only estate agents who have been issued with FFCs may be members of the Institute of Estate Agents (IEASA). For that reason, you need to provide us with your FFC number when you join the IEASA, and to notify us each time that you're issued with a new FFC, e.g. when you renew your FFC each year; or if your status changes from intern to non-principal, or from non-principal to principal; or if you move from one firm to another.
This information is provided in good faith, and the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa accepts no responsibility for the way in which it is used.
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