Realtor Calls For Amendment to Real Estate Act

Wednesday 18th, July 2012 / 08:54 Published by

Real Estate law

In the Real Estate Brokers & Salesman Act 1995, there exists a flaw.  The Attorney General’s office erred when it incorporated the Bahamas Real Estate Association into the Real Estate Board.  The purpose of a Real Estate Association is to provide avenues for its members to improve themselves professionally and academically; and to advocate for policies on behalf of its members.  The President and officers of an association ought to be elected by its members like it’s presently done.  The Real Estate Board’s Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and directors should be appointed by the government.

The present situation creates a blatant conflict of interest.  No where in any civilized society or where the real estate profession is legislated is the President of the Association and the Chairman of the Real Estate Board one and the same.  Not in the state of Florida, Nevada or California where therein are the pioneers of real estate law.  And an additional conflict of interest is the Multiple Listing Service and the Real Estate Board relationship.

Again no where in any civilized society is the MLS owned and managed by the Real Estate Board.  The MLS is always owned and managed by a private company or the association, i.e., its members to avoid the perception of conflict of interest.  It is unheard of for the MLS to be owned by the Real Estate Board, the body that governs the profession and gives licenses.

I call on the Attorney General’s office to review the Act and make amendments as soon as possible.  I advise the AG’s office to separate the board and association, and they (government) appoint officers to the board and allow BREA to elect its own officers.  I advise BREA members to look closely at the MLS and ensure its license fees are not being used to finance the MLS.  There ought to be no co-mingling of license fees and the MLS.  In addition, I advise the AG’s office to investigate the affiliation of any real estate board managing or owning the MLS and will find none exist, and will conclude ours is an inappropriate relationship.

Members contact me almost everyday with complaints about the asinine policies being implemented which affects them negatively.  For example, if a member’s dues are late, he or she is struck off the register.  And they are forced to complete the licensing process all over again.  That is illegal, immoral, unconstitutional and discriminatory.  This is one of the many reasons why the power ought to be taken out of the hands of BREA and given to a government appointed body.  It is the right thing to do.  This is just one of the numerous examples where there appear to be a goal to marginalize real estate agents in this country.  If a member is late paying his/her license fee, if there is any penalty, it should be a late fee.  Just recently, there was another asinine policy approved by the Board concerning continuing education.  It made completely, absolutely no sense.  But it was mailed to the members.  “This is what we are going to do!”

Obviously, anyone with half a brain should have known it could never go forward.  Afterwards, members received a letter saying “The board will not move forward with proposed continuing education requirements at this time.”

In conclusion, let me be emphatically clear, the above are my views.  I have held these views before Franon Wilson became President.  And they are by no means any criticism against him.  In fact, I’m the one who initiated the thought in his head to be President of BREA.  And I believe he will do a good job.

Patrick Strachan
Former 2 time President
Bahamas Real Estate Association

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