We set up the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) to raise the professionalism of the industry so as to better protect consumer interest. CEA has now completed its first full year.
It was a busy first year – licensing more than 1,500 estate agents, registering over 33,000 salespersons, setting industry practice guidelines, conducting examinations, organising consumer talks, publishing its first consumer guide, and handling over 1,400 complaints.
Out of the many complaints received, CEA has closed more than 75% of the cases. Many letters of advice and warnings were issued. A handful of cases ended up in court or face disciplinary hearings.
We are grateful for the strong support from the industry and the public. Many have welcomed the regulation and its enforcement.
It takes time to build consumer trust and to fully professionalise the industry, which had been largely unregulated in the past.
We had a good one year, but it is only the first step.
Let us now build on this foundation. I have asked CEA to press ahead on several fronts. First, see how the Estate Agency Work Regulations can be further refined. Second, improve on industry development, especially in Continuing Professional Development and ethics. Third, do more on consumer education so that consumers know their rights and responsibilities, and how to conduct sale/purchase transactions with due diligence. Fourth, continue to consult and address the industry’s concerns.
As an example, we are reviewing the CEA-Dispute Resolution Mechanism to see how we can incorporate the Small Claims Tribunals to facilitate resolution.
Please continue to support the CEA. Share your suggestions on how CEA can better serve your needs.
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