Dubai property brokers must pass Rera test to renew licence

The move from the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) is part of a wider initiative to ensure a standard degree of professionalism across the market.

Dubai real-estate brokers must now pass an official test by Rera to renew their licence. Satish Kumar / The National
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DUBAI // Real-estate brokers must now pass an official test if they wish to renew their licences.

The move from the Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) is part of a wider initiative to ensure a standard degree of professionalism across the market.

“Real-estate brokers are the most high-profile representatives of the sector and the department expects them to be fully cognisant of their rights and duties in order for them to effectively serve their customers,” according to a statement by Rera.

“The training aims to provide Dubai’s real-estate market with a high level of efficiency and professionalism, which ensures the maintenance of excellent services worthy of the prestigious name of Dubai.”

The test must be sat a month before the expiration of brokerage licences. A request for renewal of licences will be rejected unless the application is accompanied with the results of the test.

It is not clear exactly what content will be tested, but it is believed that passing the test will be an annual requirement.

In addition, Rera has also stated that any broker licences that have expired for more than six months will be cancelled within 10 days, if a renewal application is not made.

The fee for the test is Dh700. If a broker requires certified training, the course fees are Dh2,500.

A tenant who had been duped in a multi-million dirham tenancy scam in 2012 said tests may improve the quality of brokers but not protect tenants and landlords.

“Here in Dubai, one apartment has 25-30 agents,” said Mounir Wehbi, a French businessman. “This is not normal in other countries. The tests may not help resolve many issues. It is very easy for anyone to buy the green tenancy paper from a stationery shop and type up a contract with the rent amount.”

Mr Wehbi had rented an apartment from Haitham Al Kouatly, the chief executive of Shamyana Entertainment Services, who fled with at least Dh6 million in rent paid to him by tenants, but not passed on to property owners.

“We need a government document like Ejari but before the contract is signed. It should have the owner’s name and the real agent’s company name for tenants to know who they are renting from.”

A homeowner agreed that there should be more controls.

“It is a good move,” said Michael Aldendross, who owns an apartment in Discovery Gardens. “There is nothing right now to control agents and there are plenty of fly by night operators who take deposits. But, it should be an internationally recognized test and not something for RERA to make money.”

Chris Markvukaj, operations managers at Aston Pearl Real Estate, said it was important that estate agents understood the law and Rera’s regulations.

“Rera already has a series of tests known as Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 that estate agents must pass to get their licenses,” he said. “I’m not aware of any further additions to these tests but anything that helps to improve the standard and professionalism in the industry is a good thing.”

Mario Volpi, managing director of Prestige Real Estate, said Rera introduced Phase 1 of the test in 2008 and it was a requirement for brokers to pass before they were given their license.

“In the subsequent years they introduced phase two in 2011 and phase three in 2013,” he said. “The latter additions were updates because Rera wants to make sure that brokers are up-to-date on their understanding of the law.”

These tests helped to weed out freelance brokers who are giving bad advice to clients and who could lose out if they break the rules, he said.