'RERA Should Set Up A Screening Process For Property Brokers’
The real estate law must have acted as a game-changer by putting builders in their place and empowering buyers. However, those operating in the property brokerage business, feel the law treats them a bit harshly.
According to Ashwin Jain, president of the Association of Property Professional-Delhi/NCR, a lot more regulation is required from the real estate law to ensure fair play in the market. In a conversation with Surbhi Gupta, Jain, who is also the head of the National Association of Realtors, north zone, speaks about the need for formal education for brokers.
Here are the edited excerpts of the interview.
Q: One keeps hearing a lot about the various issues that trouble homebuyers and the developer community currently. How do you think property advisors are placed after the arrival of the real estate law?
Ans: The law has been instrumental in ridding the sector of fly-by-night operators, by imposing upon them heavy penalties. It has also boosted investors confidence in the countrys real estate. The effect thus caused, has spilled on to other sectors too, including infrastructure development, employment generation, etc. Unfortunately, the law is comparatively harsh when it comes to the property advisor community.
Q: In cases like Amrapali and Unitech, brokers too, colluded with the builder to cheat buyers. How do you think this has impacted the brokers' business?
Ans: The realtors responsible for such an offence should be punished but they only played a limited role. Penalisation should be on a pro-rata basis since we are just the selling agent. The property is flowing from the developer to the homebuyer and we have a limited role.
Q: How do you think that RERA can handle property brokers more efficiently?
Ans: Currently, the RERA has just a mandatory registration process for real estate brokers that does not serve the basic purpose of providing good services to homebuyers. There is no rating system for them or any minimum requirement or qualification to enter the market. There should be some formal education for brokers and licensing system through a formal test, to evaluate their competency. There should be follow-up exams every year for renewing these licences which should be made mandatory to operate in the Indian market. These exams should be on a state-level as each state has a different interpretation of the real estate law, transactional processes, etc.
The NAR-India currently conducts such screening processes for brokers. There is a certain fee to be paid to the association which conducts the test and gives online certification to the members and monitors realtors. Homebuyers should also take note of these things and should deal with the NAR-certified brokers only. If the RERA wants to bring transparency in the brokerage business, it can be only done with education, collaboration and transformation.
Q: What are your other demands from the ministry, for boosting the brokerage business?
Ans: We have requested for more clarity in the goods and service tax on the brokerage business. While the GST rate on regular housing projects has been reduced to five per cent, we are still being charged at 18 per cent, which is absurd. Also, there should be rationalisation of brokerage fee for the realtors. It should solely depend on the buyer/seller and not be enforceable.