They must clear exam to obtain competency certificate, according to recent MahaRERA order
Legal experts say move will enhance the knowledge of real estate agents. File pic
Come May 1, 2023, it will be mandatory for over 39,000 MahaRERA-registered real estate agents to undergo training and even appear for an examination to be certified by the authority, making Maharashtra the first state to introduce such a certification course. MahaRERA issued a notification to this effect in the second week of January, and the move has been appreciated by the legal experts, who say it was much-needed and such training would impart proper knowledge.
Experts say only agents certified by the authority will be handling projects registered with MahaRERA and the developer can shortlist the agents who market their projects, and details of such agents will be stated in the project advertisements and MahaRERA portal.
A four-page order signed by Dr Vasant Prabhu, secretary, MahaRERA, states, “In order to bring about a certain level of consistency in the practices of real estate agents, enhance knowledge and awareness of the regulatory and legal framework and practices, enforcement of code of conduct and with a view to ensuring that real estate agents are professionally qualified to help/assist homebuyers/allottees, MahaRERA proposes to introduce basic real estate agent training and certification course for real estate agents across the state of Maharashtra.”
It further read, “MahaRERA has over the past two years, in consultation with associations of real estate agents, homebuyers, promoters and All India Institute of Local Self-Government (AIILSCG), has developed the basic curriculum for real estate agent training and have empanelled training providers for imparting the training as per the convenience of the real estate agents—online, physical and hybrid form. The course will commence from the first week of February 2023. MahaRERA has collaborated with the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) for undertaking an online examination, so that agents who clear the test will be provided with a Certificate of Competency.”
Ramesh Prabhu, founder-chairman of MahaSEWA, welcomed the move and said, “This was a long pending requirement, as mandated in the RERA act. With this, Maharashtra has become the first state to conduct professional training for real estate agents and has set a benchmark for the rest.”
He added, “MahaRERA has worked on this for the past two years, and has tied up with professional institutions known for conducting such training and examinations. The certificate will be crucial, as promoters of existing and future MahaRERA-registered projects will need to select MahaRERA-certified real estate agents who have cleared the examination, and this will be brought into force from September.”
Prabhu added, “So far, MahaRERA has received around 40,996 applications from real estate agents across the state. Out of these, 39,071 agents have been registered and 1,925 applications are yet to be approved. Those agents registered earlier were issued certification by MahaRERA, as per norms, but all these agents will also have to undergo the mandatory course training from February and later appear for the exam.”
He continued, “This professional training and examination will be the first move towards upgrading the unorganised sector of real estate agents, who play a crucial role to bridge the gap between the developer and the end customer.”
Advocate Godfrey Pimenta, a MahaRERA practitioner, said, “The training of real estate agents is critical for the successful consummation of transaction of purchase of a flat. The agent acts as a bridge between the developer and flat purchaser. Agents come from different backgrounds and training is crucial for their success and also bringing about accountability and transparency in dealings with flat purchasers.”
Advocate Vinod Sampat, founder-president, Flat Users Resident Welfare Association, termed the training of agents the need of the hour. "It is a fact that real estate agents work in an unorganised sector wherein one can even spot a paanwala doing real estate work from his shop. Most of these agents are novices regarding the rules and regulations that govern the industry.” He added, “Such training would not only enhance the knowledge that the agent might have acquired but may also develop his understanding of other related segments.”
Only advocates can draft legal documents
Vinod Sampat said, “As per the Advocates Act, legal drafting must be done by lawyers only. Often a real estate agent or chartered accountant does drafting work, which is a punishable offence. A real estate agent should refrain from doing this as it is not within the scope of their work.”