Rogue land and property agents could soon face stiff penalties as the government moves to introduce tough measures in the real estate sector.
This comes at a time when many Kenyans have fallen victims of brokers fleecing them of their hard-earned cash. Property and land issues are currently among the leading in terms of corruption and the state is looking to minimize or put a stop to the vice.
The new measures are under the Estate Agency (2019) Bill currently at the Attorney General’s office, which among others, proposes strict penalties for the aforementioned agents.
According to Estate Agents Registration Board (EARB), the proposed law will make sure that only registered land and property agents are permitted to carry out operations in the country.
As a result, unscrupulous individuals without genuine credentials will be locked out, a move that will boost confidence among Kenyans looking to deal in the sector.
The new Bill, among others, proposes that fines for individuals found to be practicing the business illegally be increased to a minimum of 1 million shillings from the current 20,000 shillings.
“We just received comments. We are going to ensure that any comments, issues or concerns raised are addressed before we can take the bill to Parliament, hopefully in the next one or two months,” Nelly Mbugua, EARB chairperson said on Tuesday during a workshop encompassing real estate agents across the country.
EARB noted that rogue agents evade taxes leading to significant revenue losses mainly because no one can fathom the location of their offices.
“Unfortunately, there are also large institutions which are not registered. The penalties are so small that even if you try bringing them to book, it fails to have an impact,” said Mbugua.
“The proposed law will change how things are done in the real estate sector by ensuring only professionals are involved,” she concluded.