Sunday, April 4, 2010

National Credit Act - Regulation 19 (4)

The estate agent industry has long been plagued with the reputation of “second hand car salesmen” – no disrespect to the motor industry either.

The underlying characteristics of estate agents, are perceived by the public to be commission hungry agents whose sole interest is renting the property to whoever the first prospective tenant is, without providing any of the additional after sales service support such as collecting the rent and paying same over timeously to the landlord, no inspections (regularly, or even incoming and outgoing), tardy communication and overall lacking any skills.

I know this sounds drastic – but – it is the perception of many landlords and tenants.

I can also vouch for the fact that the industry has started the clean-up process the Institute of Estate Agents SA is becoming more active, the education process and registration with the Estate Agents Affairs Board.

But I sound the warning bell to estate agents who take short cuts when using the services of credit bureaus. These short cuts undermine the very data hosted by credit bureaus and create an opportunity where delinquent tenants actually get way with “tenant from hell” behaviour.

The National Credit Act (NCA) is very specific – NCA Regulation 19 (4)

“All sources of information as set out in section 70 (2) of the Act and Regulation 18 (7) must give the consumer at least 20 business days notice of its intention to submit the following adverse information concerning that person to a credit bureau:
(a) classification of consumer behaviour, including… “slow-payer”…
(b) classifications related to enforcement action taken by the credit provider… “

In short this means that before listing default information on any credit bureau, the estate agent must give the tenant 20 business day notice in writing of their intention to list this information on the various credit bureaus.

Failure to give this notice to the tenant by the estate agent could result in the tenant disputing the information with the credit bureau. The credit bureau will have no option but to delete this default should the estate agent not be able to provide a copy of the 20 business day notice of intention to list to the tenant.

The outcome of this dispute results in valuable default information being deleted from the tenant’s credit profile and the tenant is afforded the opportunity to enter the rental market place where unsuspecting rental agents and landlords could be taken for a ride again.

I appeal to all our members – please ensure you follow due process prior to adding default information. This shortcut only hampers our industry.

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