The Council for Estate Agents (CEA) has set out new rules prohibiting dual representation by salespersons, also known as property agents.

Starting 15 November 2010, salespersons will no longer be able to represent both the seller or buyer or tenant and landlord in any real estate transaction.

Salespersons, along with estate agents, also known as estate agencies, will also be barred from referring their customers to any moneylender or handling cash in certain transactions.

These are some of the rules stipulated by The Estate Agents (Estate Agency Work) Regulations 2010 (EAW), which comprises two codes in its schedules: the Code of Ethics and Professional Client Care, which is applicable to salespersons and estate agents, and the Code of Practice applicable to estate agents.

These rules will help enhance professionalism within the industry, guide salespersons and estate agents, and encourage ethical behavior and good service to clients.

The EAW also specifies guidelines about advertisements and requires estate agencies to create processes and systems, as well as a proper complaints handling system, for the supervision and management of their salespersons and business.

Starting 1 January 2011, estate agents are required to use prescribed estate agency agreements with their customers for the purchase, sale or lease of a residential property in Singapore.

Those doing estate agency work will also need to have professional indemnity insurance coverage and participate in continuing professional development programmes for at least 6 hours every year from 2011.

Starting March 2 next year, salespersons will also be required to present their estate agent’s card when doing estate agency work.

Application for the license of estate agents and registration of salespersons starts today. Successful registration will be published on CEA’s website on January 1, 2011.