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Extension of board's power

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, November 07, 2017

THE Real Estate Agency Licensing Board needs to extend its powers to effectively crack down on illegal real estate agents operating in the country.

Speaking during the board's consultations in Savusavu, Bayleys Real Estate Fiji director and partner Philip Toogood and Ki Maren Real Estates director Aren Nunnink said the Real Estates Association wanted to see the board act more firmly on cases of illegal operations.

Mr Nunnink said the current Real Estates Agency Regulation of 2006 did not give any powers to the board to prosecute illegal agents.

"All the board does is assist the police with the provision of document for investigations but police is not well versed with how the real estate industry operates," he said.

"Therefore it is really frustrating for legitimate agents who are open to scrutiny, sanctions and the law to watch illegal operators just breaking the law without any sanctions.

"Foreigners who fly in to sell Fijian properties have websites and market high valued Fijian properties as they are engaged by the vendor to market and list their properties and they sell these properties to other foreigners.

"They fly in, they fly out, they do not have work permits, they don't pay any taxes and they are not subject to any money laundering legislation."

REALB board acting chief executive officer Virisila Tuimanu said the views would be considered in the legislation review works.

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