ERA introduces measures to improve agents’ transparency, accountability

ERA Realty Network is implementing a set of measures to improve transparency and accountability on the part of its agents.

The move – the first of its kind in Singapore – comes on the heels of a court decision criticising the behaviour of two ERA agents for breach of duty and fraud.

On Thursday, the High Court ordered ERA to pay S$257,000 to a couple who had engaged one of the agents to sell their apartment.

Unknown to the couple, the agent sold the unit to his boss’ wife who later flipped it for S$945,000 – making a S$257,000 profit.

With immediate effect, ERA agents will have to make a set of disclosures at the start of each proposed transaction.

Agents will be required to disclose any possible conflicts of interest and give an undertaking to customers that they are independent contractors of ERA, using its products, services and network to market the property.

This disclosure, the company said, is modelled after similar forms used in the insurance and financial services industry.

Property buyers will also be required to declare that they are not ERA agents or have immediate family members who are.

This disclosure, to be made before any offer to purchase an ERA-marketed property is accepted, is modelled after the purchaser declaration for new developments.

ERA also said it will be amending its agents’ Code of Ethics within three months.

The guide will emphasise improving business practices and ethical guidelines for agents and customers.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 6 Feb 2009

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