Duties of a Real Estate Salesperson in a Rental Transaction
August 2022 - 3 min read
As a real estate salesperson (RES), you are responsible for promoting and safeguarding your clients’ interests in any property transaction. This includes taking reasonable precautions to ensure that no law is infringed by any person during the transaction, and providing professional service and advice to your clients throughout the transaction while acting with honesty, fidelity, and integrity.
To protect yourself and your clients in a rental transaction, here are some useful tips that you should note.
Customer's Identification Details
In all property transactions, it is necessary to accurately establish or verify the identity of the client to a high degree of fidelity.
As such, both you and your estate agent (EA) can request to collect the NRIC, FIN, or Work Permit numbers of your clients for the purposes of facilitating rental transactions. You can take photos and make photocopies of the documents when necessary. The information collected should not be used for other purposes nor shared with other parties not involved in the transaction.
For rental transactions involving non-Singaporean citizens, you should check and make photocopies of the passport and immigration/work/student passes of the foreign tenants and occupiers, and also check the validity of the immigration and work passes with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and/or the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). Similarly, the information collected should not be used for other purposes nor shared with other parties not involved in the transaction.
As you are aware, there are no fixed commission rates nor prescribed guidelines on commission amounts. You should discuss and document the agreed commission rate with your clients before starting work for them.
It is recommended that you use CEA’s Prescribed Estate Agency Agreement, which stipulates, among other things, the duties of the EAs and RESs as well as the agreed commission rate, and requires the EA or RES to declare any potential conflict of interest which may arise.
Remember that you cannot represent and collect commission fees from both the tenant and landlord in the same transaction. If you do so, it will be considered as dual representation and is an offence under the Estate Agents (Estate Agency Work) Regulations 2010.
You can, however, help the other party with the paperwork as long as you have obtained your client’s consent. It must also be clear to all involved that you are not acting for the other party. And, as mentioned earlier, you cannot collect a fee from the other party.
Customer's Particulars Form
As RESs, you must be familiar with the procedures for property transactions, and the content of the forms used. You should act in accordance with your clients’ lawful instructions, and guide and help your clients to complete and submit the necessary forms, documents, and/or information needed to process their rental transaction. You should also give your clients sufficient time to read and understand the content of the forms used before signing them and ensure that your clients receive a copy of the forms that they have signed.
You must also record your client’s personal particulars as this information will enable you to conduct due diligence checks and assess if there is any suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing activity.
You are encouraged to use the standard contract templates for residential transactions that were developed by the Digitalised Property Transactions Workgroup (DPTWG). The templates include clauses and obligations relating to the main aspects of the rental transaction that seek to protect and balance the interest of parties involved in a property transaction.
You should also explain to your clients the financial and legal implications of signing certain agreements in the event that any party does not follow through with the transaction.
Handing Over the Property
You should ensure that an inventory list is prepared and signed by the landlord and tenant, if required. This document is important in rental transactions where the tenant pays a security deposit to be returned at the expiry of the lease.
Typically, your role ends after the landlord and tenant sign the tenancy agreement and the property is handed over to the tenant. Estate agency work does not include the handling of property management issues (e.g. facilitation of repairs to faulty appliances or furniture during the course of the tenancy, collection of rental payments, refund of security deposits). Some of you may offer to help resolve landlord-tenant issues out of goodwill. Should you wish to help your client with property management issues, you may wish to consider having a formal arrangement with your client through signing a property management contract.
To further help smoothen the rental transaction, and for ease of communication should any landlord-tenant issues arise during the tenancy, you should encourage the landlord and tenant to exchange contact details at the start of the tenancy. There may be times when your clients may not be able to reach you, so for the landlord or tenant to have each other’s contact information could help reduce delays in addressing any urgent matters related to tenancy, e.g. urgent repairs to the rental property.
Information accurate as at 30 Aug 2022