Number of consumer complaints against property agents down from last year

SINGAPORE: The number of consumer complaints against property agents in Singapore fell to 702 cases in the 12 months till March 2015, down from the 751 cases in the previous 12-month period.

This is according to data released by the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) in its 2014/15 annual report on Monday (Oct 12).

Most of the complaints, or 46 per cent, were transactions related to HDB flats. Another 34 per cent related to private residential properties, CEA said.

Among the HDB-related complaints, there were 232 cases linked to resale transactions and another 91 cases linked to rental deals. Another 134 complaints related to the sale of private properties.

The CEA attributed the decline in consumer complaints to enhanced industry standards, thanks to its regulatory enforcement, professional development of salespersons and consumer education.

A joint statement by the Council President Greg Seow and Executive Director Chionh Chye Khye said that CEA stepped up investigations and took disciplinary actions in several cases of malpractices and breaches of industry guidelines during its 2014/15 financial year.

“We invested in staff training relating to investigation work and industry regulations so that our officers are equipped to ensure rigorous standards and timely completion of all investigations, and effective management of consumer complaints,” they added.

The number of licensed estate agents had fallen to 1,422 as of March this year from 1,449 in the previous financial year. Meanwhile, the number of registered salespersons declined to 32,006 from 33,498 over the same period.

Going forward, CEA said it plans to strengthen capabilities in support of industry development. The agency plans to add more avenues and resources to enable practitioners sharpen their competencies through continuous learning.