Property commission limits still under discussion

Thursday, April 28, 2011
Issue 1294, Page 7
Word count: 502
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Government still tends to not stipulate an upper and a lower limit on real estate commissions, citing difficulties in executing the law.

The First Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly continued deliberation on the draft law of the ‘Real Estate Intermediary Services Act’ yesterday. The president, Kwan Tsui Hang, said the lawmakers have not reached a consensus regarding whether or not it is necessary to set a cap and base amount on the commission payable to real estate brokers in each transaction.

Although the idea was proposed by some associations from the industry, Kwan said the Government still believes that ‘it’s better not to set any restrictions on the amounts’.

If a statutory upper and lower limit were in place, the Government predicts that it would be ‘difficult’ to discover whether the commission is within the range, Kwan told reporters.

“If an agent rendered very good services and satisfied all the buyer’s needs, and the buyer was willing to pay more to the agent, it’s hard to carry out any punishment,” she added.

Moreover, the committee president said some lawmakers believed it necessary to prohibit real estate agents from acting on behalf of the seller and buyer simultaneously in a transaction, in order to protect the buyer’s rights and interests.

However, some committee members argued that this kind of ‘double agent’ practice is a current mechanism and any changes may make significant impact on the industry’s operation.

Kwan said no agreement has yet been obtained on this matter.

Nevertheless, she has called on society and related industries to provide more opinion and suggestions to the legislature especially on the commission limit and double agent topics.

On the other hand, she disclosed that the standing committee has proposed to the government to relax requirements for current real estate brokers to continue to work in the industry after the law comes into effect.

The draft law has proposed that real estate agents must have completed senior secondary school and existing industry practitioners who do not meet the educational qualification will be given a three-year grace period.

Yet, brokers over 40 years old and who have worked in the industry for five consecutive years will only need to take and pass a 30-hour professional training course held by the Labour Affairs Bureau in order to be issued a licence. Those who have worked in the industry for over three years but less than five years will be required to complete an additional 96-hour supplementary secondary school course before a license is issued.

Furthermore, Kwan said some lawmakers disagreed with the provision that states that if a labour relationship is discontinued due to the suspension or termination of the real estate agent’s licence, it will be regarded as an employer who ceases an employment contract.

The Government will amend the draft law according to the standing committee’s proposals except regarding the commission limits and double agent clauses. Kwan said the committee will only resume the discussion after a work report is submitted.

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