Professionals in the property sector insist that more than half of the real estate agents in the country are trading illegally, as they are not adequately trained, thus lowering the standards. NJOKI CHEGE investigates
There is not a doubt that the real estate industry is a multi-billion industry in the country today. A career in this industry is, therefore, appealing to many, judging from the numerous real estate firms including agents and valuers in the country.
But beneath this lustrous industry, is a looming danger — and it solely lies in the real estate practitioners in the country.
More than half of them are barely trained in the best practices of the industry, yet they are the key drivers of this multi-billion industry.
According to the University of Nairobi Land Economics scholar Prof Paul Syagga, the Estate Agents Act, which was enacted in 1984, clearly stipulates who should practise estate agency and the rules that govern this industry.
“In Chapter 533 of the Laws of Kenya, the Estate Agents Act clearly stipulates who should practice estate agency, and it contains the code of conduct governing the profession,” says Prof Syagga.
But the misfortune lies in the fact that this Act is not followed to the letter, making the industry porous and open to quacks who have introduced several malpractices into the industry.
|A crude roadside advertising purporting to offer real estate services.(Photo:Martin Mukangu/Standard)|
Take for instance Section 13, which clearly outlines the qualifications of an ideal real estate practitioner. Besides being registered with the Estate Agents Board, one is supposed to be a full member of the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya, a holder of a degree, diploma or license from a university or college or school recognised by the board.
But what we are seeing today is a totally different picture, with many estate agents not having satisfied the qualifications mentioned in the Act.
“That is where the problem lies as the industry has too many quacks. The Act provides a lower threshold than any other profession, making it easy for just about anyone to enter the industry,” he says.
Surprisingly, at the moment, the only course available in training estate agents is a one-year diploma course in Real Estate and Construction Management. This course is available at the University of Nairobi and now recently at the Kenya Polytechnic University College. On average, the University of Nairobi trains only a paltry of 20 students per year in this course.