DUE to a shortage of manpower to monitor fraudulent activities in real estate, the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) has collaborated with a group of real estate salespersons in the country to put a stop to the proliferation of unlicensed sales agents, currently estimated to number over 100,000.
During the Accredited Real Estate Salespersons of the Philippines (ACRES) Summit on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, at the Radisson Blu Cebu, lawyer Carla Colaljo of the DHSUD urged the over 100 members of ACRES to join the cause of putting an end to unlicensed real estate sales persons victimizing property buyers, including the overseas Filipino workers.
Even with the active stance of the government led by the DSHUD to curb or eliminate the presence of unlicensed players, “they can only do so much,” due to a lack of manpower. This collaboration with the private sector, according to Colaljo, will speed up the government’s work, particularly in safeguarding an industry that has helped propel the economy even during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Industry estimates put the number of real estate salespersons selling properties without a license in the Philippines at around 120,000, according to Dr. Eduardo Ong, Philippine Federation of Real Estate Professionals Inc. chairman.
Industry players are lamenting the proliferation of fake real estate agents and brokers who continue to “unscrupulously dupe” buyers despite a law regulating the practice of real estate service.
Under Presidential Decree 957, no real estate broker or salesman shall engage in the business of selling subdivision lots or condominium units without being registered.
ACRES national president Chris Malazarte said stakeholders expect a rise in fake real estate sellers and brokers, given the rapid growth of real estate in the country today.
It is for this reason, he said, that ACRES members will need to encourage and inspire one another to become “agents of change” in terms of monitoring and reporting these unlicensed agents and brokers, and even fake developers.
ACRES membership now stands at over 3,000 real estate salespersons nationwide.
“There really is a need to work closely in collaboration with the government,” said Anthony Gerard Leuterio, president of A Better Real Estate Philippines, the mother organization of ACRES.
“If there is a demand, there might be people who will take advantage,” Leuterio said.
But instead of apprehending them, Ong, in a past interview, suggested reaching out to them and encouraging them to professionalize their practice, especially since the industry needs more professional salespersons who will continue to market the properties being built across the country.
In June last year, the DHSUD created a task force that will boost the fight against illegal real estate operators and unregistered brokers and agents.
The National Task Force on Anti-Illegal Real Estate Practices will expand measures to stop illegal real estate operations to be implemented through an inter-agency panel led by DHSUD and supported by partner agencies.
Created through Joint Memorandum Circular No. 1, Series of 2021, the task force is composed of the DHSUD, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Land Registration Authority, Professional Regulation Commission, Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation.