Keeping pace of professionalism in real estate

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By Bert Capili

Real Estate Updates

Sunday, July 13, 2014


IT HAD been almost five years since the new real estate law took effect which aims to professionalize the real estate service practice. This is by virtue of Republic Act No. 9646 - the Real Estate Service Act (RESA) of the Philippines - which took effect on July 30, 2009.

To recall, R. A. No. 9646 was initially authored by former Congressman Rodolfo G. Valencia, PAREB's past National President, about twenty-six years ago. It took more than two decades for its approval, the delay resulting from continued politicking, in fighting, lack of government support and non-priority or non-preferential status it had suffered from three administrations.

On June 29, 2009, RESA, after much lobbying from many real estate associations and stakeholders, was finally approved by then President Gloria M. Arroyo and which signalled the start of the professionalization of real estate service practice. Previous to the approval of RESA, the real estate service practice was considered more as a trade, rather than a profession, being then under the supervision and administration of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) - Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection (BTRCP) since the inception of the formal practice of real estate in the 1960's.

The RESA took effect on July 30, 2009, fifteen days after its publication in a major daily newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. As a real estate practice being elevated to a profession, its affairs is now handled by a Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate (PRB RES) or referred under the law as the Board. It is composed of long-time and qualified practitioners in real estate who are appointed by the President of the Philippines based on various qualifications, experiences and professional expertise. The Board is under the direct supervision and administrative control of the Professional Regulation Commission or PRC.

Under its Declaration of Policy (Sec. 2 Art. I), it states: The State recognizes the vital role of real estate service practitioners in the social, political, economic development and progress of the country by promoting the real estate market, stimulating economic activity and enhancing government income from real property based transactions, Hence, it shall develop and nurture through proper and effective regulation and supervision a corps of technically competent, responsible and respected professional real estate service practitioners whose standards of practice and service shall be globally competitive and will promote the growth of the real estate industry."

The categories of real estate service practitioners under RESA are: Real Estate Consultant, Real Estate Appraiser, Real Estate Assessor, Real Estate Broker and Real Estate Salesperson. Each of these categories in the real estate practice are given licenses by the PRC to exercise their professional practice. Except for the Real Estate Salesperson, the other practitioners have to undergo a licensure examination and pass said examination to qualify them, among others, to exercise their profession.

In order to be admitted to the licensure examination for real estate service, a candidate shall, at the time of filing his/her application, establish to the satisfaction of the Board that he/she possesses the following qualifications:
1. Filipino citizen;
2. A holder of a relevant bachelors's degree from a college or university duly recognized by CHED (Commission on Higher Education). As soon as a course leading to a Bachelor's degree in Real Estate is implemented by CHED, the Board shall make this course a requirement for taking the licensure examination; and
3. Of good moral character, and must not have been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.

A Certificate of Registration (COR) shall be issued to examinees who pass the licensure examination for real estate service subject to the payment of fees prescribed by PRC and a professional identification card bearing the registration number, date of issuance and expiry date, duly signed by the chairperson of the PRC shall likewise be issued to every registrant upon payment of the required fees. The professional ID card shall be renewed every three (3) years and upon satisfying the requirements of PRB RES such as, but not limited to, attendance in the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program.

The Board may revoke or suspend the issued license of a practitioner under the following instances:
1. Procurement of a COR and/or professional ID card, or special/temporary permit by fraud or deceit;
2. Allowing an unqualified person to advertise or to practice the profession by using one's COR or professional ID card, or special/temporary permit;
3. Unprofessional or unethical conduct;
4. Malpractice of violation of RESA, its IRR and the Code of Ethics and Responsibilities for real estate service practitioners; and
5. Engaging in the practice of the profession during the period of one's suspension.

The following are exempted from the acts constituting the practice of real estate service:
1. Property owners selling their own properties;
2. Receiver, trustee or assignee in bankruptcy of insolvency proceedings;
3. Person/s acting by the order of the court;
4. Person/s constituted as an attorney-in-fact in real estate contracts provided they do not receive any form of compensation or remuneration; and
5. Public officers in the performance of their official duties and functions, except government assessors and appraisers.

The penal provisions for violations of RESA and other related laws and issuances as well as illegal practice of the profession include:
1. If it is committed by licensed real estate servicer practitioners, he/she shall be meted the penalty of a fine of not less than P 100,000.00 or imprisonment of not less than two (2) years or both at the discretion of the court.
2. If it is committed by unlicensed persons, he/she shall be meted the penalty of a fine of not less than P 200,000.00 or imprisonment of not less than four (4) year or both at the discretion of the court.
3. If it is committed by a juridical person, the responsible officer/s who has committed or consented to or knowingly tolerated such violation shall be held directly liable and responsible for the acts as principal or as a co-principal with the other participants, if any.

With the upcoming ASEAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (AFTA) by next year, the real estate profession will be put to the test, since professionals from other countries can join the bandwagon of practice here in the country and also our professionals can likewise engage in the practice of the profession in other ASEAN countries. After five years of professional real estate practice in the Philippines, are we ready for the trade and service engagements globalization? Only time will tell.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 14, 2014.

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