No FFC no legal right to claim commission says the law. Unfortunately for many estate agents this is how they began the new year – unable to earn a living while still anxiously awaiting their Fidelity Fund Certificate from the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB).
Every year the timely issue of FFC’s is a challenge for the embattled regulator of the industry. Early last year hope glimmered when the EAAB’s new CEO, Mamodupi Mohlala, made it clear that clearing the backlog of thousands of FFC’s would be one of her first priorities.
Further reading: FFC backlog cleared says new EAAB CEO
It was hoped that going forward the regulator would be able to handle the thousands of requests for FFC renewals submitted annually, as is required by law.
That was not the case.
To avoid a repeat of the previous year’s fiasco, industry body Rebosa launched an online platform where agents, who had applied and paid for their FFC renewal for 2020 by the 31 October deadline, could log their details if they hadn’t received their certificate from the regulator.
Following the response they had on the platform, Rebosa on 10 December met with Mohlala and the Chairman of the Board to determine what was being done to alleviate the problem. To their shock and dismay, they found out the backlog was worse than they had imagined – almost a third of the industry was still waiting for their FFC’s.
The CEO promised immediate action to ensure that all outstanding FFC’s to legally compliant agents would be issued before the EAAB closed their office on 20 December for the festive season. She confidently guaranteed that the job would get done.
An email hotline was set up on 17 December to help fast-track the process. Every day the office of the CEO sent out an update on the progress made with the last one on 20 December claiming that by close of business FFC’s to 30 483 fully compliant estate agents had been processed and issued. The email hotline was then deactivated.
Hundreds of anxious estate agents, who were still without FFC’s, notified Rebosa of their plight who continued engaging with the EAAB to get the certificates issued before 1 January. According to Rebosa’s CE Jan le Roux they did manage issuing certificates – even after Christmas Day. “Sadly, despite these efforts hundreds of agents (as far as we can determine) were still waiting for their FFC’s to be issued and we are doing our best to address this.”
Rebosa also discovered that agents were dealing with a whole host of challenges with regards to their FFC’s. Not only were many still waiting for their certificates, but other challenges included: firms issued with FFC’s in the wrong company name; agents issued FFC’s with the incorrect status or without having updated changes in employment; agents not issued FFC’s because their CPD payments have not been captured and allocated etc etc.
Consequently, as soon as the EAAB’s offices re-opened in January (with all staff not back from leave) efforts were resumed to engage with the CEO to get these FFC’s issued.
This week Property Professional asked the CEO’s office for comment on the situation. Chandre Prins, on behalf of the CEO responded, that by 13 January a total of 32 352 FFCs were issued to fully compliant estate agents who had paid for their renewal within the prescribed period of 1 July to 31 October. All these FFCs should be available on the EAAB portal where agents can download and print them she added.
According to the statement by Prins all the previous FFC queries sent by Rebosa had been resolved and they were currently working on a new list of queries. She also said they were also dealing with cases where agents had submitted incorrect information or where payments could not be traced.
Prins said agents who still had queries could log their requests on the EAAB portal or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Le Roux said this week that Rebosa has provided the EAAB with a new schedule of 741 outstanding FFC queries which has been prioritised by the EAAB. “We are dealing directly with the CEO who has given us her personal assurance yet again that these FFCs will be dealt with in the course of this week,” he says.
“Industry received communication after communication of ‘mission accomplished’ when in fact many are still outstanding today,” Le Roux adds.
He encouraged agents who are still waiting for their FFCs to log on to the Rebosa website and complete the online form so that they can be assisted.