Engaging a property agent for rental transactions

Unsure of what to note when working with your property agent for rental transactions and how much commission to pay? Here are some useful tips.

 

Customer's Identification Details

Are property agents allowed to collect my NRIC or other identification details (e.g. take photos or make photocopies of my ID)?

The Infocomm Media Development Authority has set up the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC). The PDPC's Advisory Guidelines on the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) for NRIC and other National Identification Numbers state that an organisation may collect, use, or disclose a person’s NRIC number with notification and consent, when it is necessary to accurately establish or verify the identity of the individual to a high degree of fidelity.

This applies to property transactions as the inability to accurately identify an individual to a high degree of fidelity may pose a risk of significant impact or harm to an individual and/or organisation.

As such, property agencies and agents can request to collect the NRIC, FIN, or Work Permit numbers of their clients, specifically for the purposes of facilitating property transactions. Property agents can take photos and make photocopies of the documents when necessary. The information collected should not be used for other purposes or shared with other parties not involved in the property transaction.

For rental transactions involving non-Singaporean citizens, property agents are required to check and make photocopies of the passport and immigration/work/student passes of the foreign tenants and occupiers. Similarly, the information collected should not be used for other purposes or shared with other parties not involved in the property transaction.

Commission Rate

How much commission should I be paying?

There are no fixed commission rates nor prescribed guidelines on commission amounts. We leave it to market forces to drive competitive pricing for commission payable in the industry. This incentivises property agents to price their services competitively.
 
You should discuss and agree on the commission amount and terms with your agent based on the scope of work you require before he starts work. 

Do check if there is GST payable on the commission. You can document the agreed commission amount in the Prescribed Estate Agency Agreement. When the transaction is completed, honour and pay the agreed commission to the property agency, not to the agent himself.

Do take note that property agents cannot collect commission from more than one party in the same transaction. If your agent collects a commission from you, he cannot collect a commission or a co-broking fee from the other party or from the other party’s agent. Even if your agent has helped the other party with paperwork, he should not receive any fee from the other party.

Customer's Particulars Form

What is this Form and why do I have to fill it up?

CEA requires property agents to request their clients to fill in and sign the Customer’s Particulars Form. This is one of the measures agents have to take to combat money laundering and counter terrorism financing.

Investing in real estate is one of the ways criminals introduce ill-gotten funds into the legal economy. By identifying the parties involved in the property transaction, especially the beneficial owner, the authorities would be able to prevent money laundering from happening.
 
The Customer’s Particulars Form enables agents to gather the information needed to conduct the necessary checks, and the agent should not share that information with external parties except where necessary to facilitate the transaction. Cooperate with your agent and do your part by filling in the form.

Tenancy Agreements

What is it and where can I find it?

The Tenancy Agreement covers the terms and conditions of the renting of a property, offering clauses relating to the main aspects of the tenancy to protect and balance the interests of both landlords and tenants. You can find the templates for the renting out of HDB flats and private residential properties, and for landlords and tenants, on CEA’s website.

These templates are just a guide, and you are free to amend the template or negotiate the terms contained in the template with your agent to suit your needs and/or requirements.

The templates were drafted by the Digitalised Property Transactions Workgroup (DPTWG) - a workgroup comprising industry representative from across the real estate value chain and all key government agencies with touchpoints in the property transaction process. The DPTWG gathered input from other regulatory agencies and industry practitioners who are experienced in the residential property transaction process, to ensure that the templates provide a common standard that is fair to all parties in the transaction.  

Agent's Role

When does the property agent’s role end in a rental transaction?

Typically, a property agent’s role ends after the landlord and tenant sign the tenancy agreement and the property is handed over to the tenant. Property agents do not handle property management issues (e.g. facilitate repairs to faulty appliances or furniture during the course of the tenancy, collection of rental payments) as part of their estate agency work.

If you require help with property management during the tenancy, you should check with your agent whether he would be willing to provide this service and whether there would be a fee involved.

For additional tips on engaging a property agent, visit www.cea.gov.sg/4steps.


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Consumer Guide - Engaging a property agent for rental transactions_060220