By Person of Interest (guest contributor)
On September 22 last year, a Norwegian man allegedly hurt a taxi driver by wrapping his arm around the latter’s neck, and later after serving slightly more than half of his 10-week jail term, was on February 16 fined $2,000 after a retrial.
In comparison, a real estate agent could be slapped with a fine of $10,000 and/or a jail term of 6 months if he does not display his estate agent card, governed by The Estate Agents(Estate Agency Work) Regulations 2010, Estate Agents Act 2010(ACT 25 OF 2010), where ‘Any person who contravenes paragraph (1) or (2) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.’
Paragraph (1) states that it is mandatory to for an agent to display his estate agent card, and paragraph (2) states that it is mandatory for the real estate agent to show the card to any person who may reasonably request to see the card and allow such person to record any information from the card.
Does it make sense that the penalty for failing to show a card can be more serious than physically assaulting another person?
A Real Estate Agents’ Joke
A different real estate agent shared a similar joke with me, pertaining to the outrageous penalty of not displaying the estate agent card.
Prisoner A: Hey bro, why are you here?
Agent: Well, all because of a card?
Prisoner A: What card? You stole a credit card?
Agent: You see, I am a real estate agent. On that fateful day, I was rushing for an inspection of a property my buyer was interested in. I was a little late, rushed and left my estate agent card in the car. The “buyer” was a CEA officer and I was caught red-handed. Fined SG$10,000 and given a six month jail term.
Prisoner A: Wah! You were being trapped! I have a better deal, I stole $9,900 worth of computer accessories. Only two months jail for me.
Agent: What to do? Maybe they have a quota to meet. Once I am out of jail, I will hang my estate agent card on my neck wherever I go. I can’t afford to forget again.
Show the Card To Any Person?
This seems a bit hard to swallow. Why should a real estate agent be obliged to show his/her card to any person and allow them to record his/her information? Shouldn’t this be restricted to requests from sellers, buyers, tenants, landlords and security guards?
What is the rationale for these rules?How did the regulator derive such a heavy penalty for something a property agent could genuinely forget to do?
By guest contributor Person of Interest, a Service Excellence Advocate and an avid Forum writer.