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Laws to come for T&T’s real estate industry

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The long wait for laws regulating T&T’s real estate industry is coming to an end. President of the Association of Real Estate Agents of T&T (Area), Mark Edghill, announced yesterday that the group’s work in creating and contributing to the evolution of the Real Estate Profession Bill is about to pay off. Speaking at a seminar on Best Practices in Real Estate, Edghill said: “We have the hope that we may have significant traction on the bill before the end of 2014.”



He said Area had put forward suggestions for regulation of the industry to successive governments. He explained that delays in getting legislation off the ground had to do with developing other laws which impact on the activities of real estate agents. 



One example, he said, was the Data Protection Act. Edghill said in previous incarnations, the Real Estate Bill had stated that no property could be listed unless it was registered and assigned a registration number. However, while this provided protection for agents, it encroached on the Data Protection Act by infringing on the privacy of others, so amendments had to be made. The Area president said added pressure had to do with the number of organisations in support of legislating the industry. 


“We have the backing of the IMF, the IDB, the FATF, the CFATF, FIU, the World Bank, the Ministry of National Security—everyone is in support of having our bill established our bill as soon as possible,” Edghill said. “In particular, where the FIUF, FATF and the CFATF are concerned…one of the main things that this indicates is government’s willingness to become compliant with these organisations that are monitoring us internationally. It will impact our ability to do business internationally.”


Edghill said the real estate industry is possibly the only one in the country not formally regulated by national laws. “It is phenomenal, the attention that is being placed on the real estate industry. A lot of fingers are being pointed. A lot of accusations are being made and we are pretty much on the defensive,” he said. He added that revisions to the Bill have been handed over to privately contracted lawyers who will now shape the amendments into an acceptable form before the legislation is re-submitted to Parliament.


The Bill proposes that Area become the governing body of the local real estate industry.


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