Unlicensed real estate agents may be fined up to RM300,000 and face jail time as well, the body in charge has reminded.
The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) said the newly amended Valuer, Appraisers and Estate Agents (Amendment) Act empowered the police to act against such agents.
Its Johor branch chairman Liew Toh Sen said the move was much welcomed as previously, police had no power to go after unauthorised agents "even after they ran off with buyers' fundsâ€.
He said there were about 2,500 licensed real estate firms in the country, employing about 23,000 real estate negotiators and agents.
"MIEA estimates that the number of illegal agents are at least 20 to 50 times more than the licensed ones. There have been many cases of property buyers getting swindled,'' he said at a press conference yesterday (29 August).
Liew said the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA), which regulates the agents in Malaysia, received about 50 to 60 such complaints each month.
Under the amended Act, he said illegal real estate negotiators or agents could be fined up to RM300,000, be jailed not more than three years, or both, upon conviction. He advised unlicensed agents to attend a two-day course by MIEA in order to obtain proper accreditation.
"Prospective buyers can download the BOVAEA smartphone application and key in the agent's details to find out if he or she is licensed.''
The free app, named LPPEH-BOVAEA, can be downloaded from the Apple Store and Google Playstore.