Residential property buyers or those who intend to purchase property can breathe a sigh of relief, as the Property neighbourPractitioners Act 22 of 2019 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) was signed into law on 19 September 2019 to bring balance to the property market. The Act has now replaced the Estate Agency Affairs Act 112 of 1976 (hereinafter referred to as “the old Act”) ensuring that residential property buyers are afforded more protection when buying or leasing a home.

Under this Act, residential property buyers have a clear right to refer their complaints to the office of the Ombudsman designated in terms of the Act to consider and adjudicate over matters which residential property buyers may be exploited by property practitioners. Further protection that the Act affords to property buyers, is by directing the property practitioners to ensure that the seller or lessor discloses defects to the property by way of a disclosure form. A property practitioner must not accept a mandate unless the seller or lessor has disclosed with a fully signed disclosure form the defects to the property.

It is essential for residential property buyers to ensure that before dealing with a property practitioner, they request that such practitioner produce his/her fidelity fund certificate as designated by the Act. If same cannot be produced, the buyer or lessee may elect not to deal with the practitioner and report such person to the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority (“the PPRA”).