Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Regulator rejects 60pc of property licence requests - Independent.ie

MORE than half of the 5,000 applications for licences required by estate agents from the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) have been rejected.

The PSRA has confirmed that only 40pc of applications (2,000) received by the deadline of July have been accepted. The body has written asking the others to apply again.

Reasons given for the rejections include forms filled out incorrectly, missing data, details of qualifications that were not deemed relevant, cheques drawn out wrongly and incorrect tax clearance information.

It has also emerged that around 250 agents are being barred from providing professional property services because they sent their applications in late -- and it could be well into next year before they get the opportunity to re-apply for a license.

Under new legal requirements, auctioneers, estate agents, lettings agents and management companies now need an operating licence issued by the PSRA.

A PSRA spokesman said: "This is a new process, and a number of unexpected issues have arisen -- for example, the situation where accountants have told applicants that they can't get relevant tax clearance because they are jointly assessed.

"We've had to show them how to get such clearance from the Revenue Commissioners. It's quite a complex process for the applicants, and we've provided a 40-page booklet to tell applicants how to proceed."

While the spokesman would not be drawn on when all the applicants would likely be licensed, it is hoped this would happen before the end of the year.

"Once the applications have been made they can continue trading as per normal, even if the first submission has been rejected," he added.

"It's important to note that those agents who've had forms sent back to them are not excluded from the licensing process. Once the correct forms have been supplied, we will then make a judgment on their application.

"If we judge for whatever reason that they don't qualify, they'll still be able to appeal. It's the first time this process has been embarked on, and therefore it will likely take some effort to get it right."


Fintan McNamara of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV) said the application process was far too complicated.

"Our members have had all sorts of issues with getting up-to-date certificates and with educational issues," he said.

"You have to question why it seems to be so complicated, but it's the law and we have to get licensed.

"I would, however, question why we have to register every year when in other countries every three years or even every 10 years will suffice."

- Mark Keenan

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