Estate agents are worried about what they call “confusion” in licensing, which becomes mandatory in January, the Times of Malta has learned.
Malta Estate Agents Federation spokesman Simon Debono said the government appears to be “making things up as they go”, leaving agents in the dark about what will happen in the months to come. .
Real estate agents must obtain a license to operate by the end of this year, although the deadline for submitting applications was September 17.
By law, any real estate agent or real estate broker operating without a license from next year can be fined â¬ 20,000.
But while the change, which is expected to impact thousands of workers in the sector, is only a few months away, Debono said the government has yet to put things in order. He also complained that although one was required to have a license as of January 1, the government announced in last minute applications would only be accepted until mid-September.
“It’s a total joke. Anyone working on this clearly has no idea what the realities of the industry are like,” Debono said.
Sources who spoke to The Times of Malta about it also complained about the lack of information and confusion, with those who previously applied saying they had not received any further details.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the estate agents section of the Malta Developers Association, Michael Bonello, said about 1,200 of the association’s 3,000 members have applied by the deadline. This meant that in January they would not be able to work in the sector.
Bonello said many found the application process somewhat difficult, with a range of documents required.
âThey got into a lot of things. Bank accounts, history … don’t think there has ever been an industry that had to submit so much information, âhe said.
Bonello expressed concern about the future of the industry, saying he was concerned the new system would have an impact on recruitment and retention.
âMy biggest worry is that we still don’t know what’s going to happen with the new people. It’s going to be a lot harder to attract people. Big companies grab it [the change] seriously but the smaller ones less. We have to wait and see what will happen, âBonello said.
Contacted about this, a government spokesperson did not provide any details and told The Times of Malta.
âWe are currently processing a number of licensing applications. Those who applied before September 17 and have all the documents and qualifications in order will be licensed. ”
It is still unclear what will happen to those who missed the deadline or to those who may have joined the profession after that date.
About 1,500 real estate agents had signaled their intention to register last March. Licenses are valid for a period of five years and are issued after officers have completed a 65-hour course.
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