REALB and Consumer Council of Fiji To Work Together for Consumer Protection

14/08/2019 12:31

 

The Real Estate Agents Licensing Board (REALB), in collaboration with the Consumer Council of Fiji (CCF), will conduct a Joint Roadshow in the Northern Division this month as part of an effort to educate consumers on issues related to the Real Estate Industry in Fiji

This is the first time both organisations will work together on a joint awareness campaign. The Road Show will be held on August 19 in Taveuni before moving to Savusavu on August 20. It will be concluded in Labasa Town on August, 21.
REALB Chairman, Dr Abdul Hassan said this marks the beginning of a new journey for the two agencies.

“I am glad both organisations have mutually agreed to work together and protect the interest of the public in the real estate industry. The partnership has come at a time when illegal activities is rising in the Industry. This gives us an opportunity to work as a team in terms of sharing of information and creating awareness to the general public.” Dr Hassan said.
“Our working together also helps in revising policy guidelines and real estate legislation. The Board will consider the views of CCF when revising the Real Estate Agents Licensing Act 2006.

“It is encouraging to note that Consumer Council of Fiji, CEO Mrs. Seema Shandil for coming forward with an initiative to work with REALB. Certainly, this is a new strategy for consumer protection with two agencies working together on the same course,” Dr Hassan added.

“This collaborative effort will set a platform to raise awareness in real estate sector in a more effective and holistic manner” said Mrs. Shandil.

“The focus of this work is to empower and protect consumers, particularly those that falls in the disadvantage and marginalize sections of the society.” Mrs. Shandil also added that this joint Road Show will provide an opportunity to educate the consumers on their rights and responsibilities when dealing with Real Estate Agents. This would also enable the consumers who lacks confident to come forward and discuss issues with our team relating to buying and selling properties through real estate agents. In the past numerous complaints were received from property owners when they engage agents to sell/buy properties.

“The Consumer Council has seriously considered in the past to provide more powers to the REALB to deal with issues that are of serious concern to the consumers. The Council has also recommended in the budget submissions this year that REALB powers be expanded and that all properties listed by the agents for sale or renting, to be registered with REALB. This will ensure that prices of properties sold or advertise to sell in different districts/suburbs are available online.”
“The awareness sessions in the North are very timely and will be another opportunity to edify on the current real estate,” Mrs Shandil concluded.

In these road shows REALB will provide guidance to public on the documents they require when dealing with real estate agents whilst CCF will be focusing more on consumer advocacy and their rights under the legislation.”

More awareness sessions are expected to be carried out in other parts of the country later this year.

Since 2017, the two agencies have recorded a combined $42,154,713 worth of properties illegally dealt.Bulk of these complaints were recorded by REALB.
Ends


ABOUT REALB

Real Estate Agents Licensing Board of Fiji (REALB) is a corporate statutory body of the Fijian Government.
REALB has a range of duties which include licensing real estate agents, granting permits as well as certificates of approval for salespersons, providing approval for branch managers and also approving the opening of new branch offices for real estate agents.
Another duty REALB plays is to take disciplinary action against real estate agents and salespersons, including the cancellation or suspension of Licenses, in situations such as misconduct and criminal convictions.
Our job is to promote a high standard of service and professionalism in the Industry and at the same time safeguarding consumer interest.

ABOUT CCoF
CCoF is a statutory body established under the Consumer Council of Fiji Act 1976 (Cap 235). The Council, as a watchdog, protects the rights and interests of consumers by promoting fair and just delivery of goods and services.
First and foremost, the Consumer Council of Fiji is an advocacy organization, conducting rigorous research and policy analysis on key consumer issues. CCoF’s insight into consumer need is a powerful tool for influencing decision-makers to bring about change.
The Council protects the vulnerable groups such as rural poor, physically and mentally challenged, children and women by identifying and articulating the policy issues that are of importance to the consumers.

*This is a joint press release between REALB and CCoF