Approved by the Mauritian government on September 4, 2020, the Real Estate Agent Authority Act has several objectives in favor of the protection of sellers, buyers and more globally the maintenance of the reputation of the Mauritian real estate sector.
The many objectives of the Real Estate Agent Authority Act
The Mauritius National Assembly recalls that the purpose of this Bill is to provide for the establishment of the Estate Agents Authority to regulate and control the business activities of estate agents, including the business activities of land developers and property developers. This bill was made necessary in order to promote :
- Transparency, accountability and integrity in operations;
- Transparency, accountability and integrity in the activities of real estate agents, including the activities of land and property developers;
- Transparency, accountability and integrity in the business activities of real estate agents, including the business activities of land and property developers.
Accordingly, the Authority will:
- Register real estate agents, including land developers and real estate promoters;
- Exercise and maintain discipline in the business activities of real estate agents, including the business activities of land developers and real estate promoters;
- Cooperate with the financial intelligence unit in the framework of the law on financial intelligence and the fight against money laundering. Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act and other relevant public sector agencies to assist in the detection and prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing and proliferation in the real estate sector.
Real estate agents legally obliged to register
The Real Estate Agent Authority Act provides for the establishment of a Real Estate Agent Authority (REAA), a regulatory authority for commercial activities whose function is to increase the protection of stakeholders in a real estate transaction.
As such, it is to this authority that real estate agents, land and property developers will have to turn in order to register as such. Violators are subject to a fine of up to 100,000 rupees and a jail term of up to two years.
Until the REAA is actually created, those already working as real estate agents will have to register within 6 months before the Real Estate Agent Authority Act comes into effect.
Requirements for registration with the REAA
Registration as a real estate agent with the REAA is subject to specific conditions, so not everyone who uses the title of real estate agent is automatically eligible. The criteria are as follows:
- Be at least 21 years old;
- Hold a degree in real estate (or equivalent qualification approved by the Board) or have a minimum of 5 years experience in real estate transactions.
- Be a company, corporation or partnership whose director/member/partner is registered as a real estate agent;
- To be able to provide a guarantee in cash, bank guarantee, insurance policy, mortgage on a real estate property, usable in case of legal debt related to its real estate activity.
What is the definition of a real estate agent under Mauritian law?
The Mauritian law recognizes the title of real estate agent only to professionals performing the following tasks in the context of a real estate transaction:
- Negotiation of a sale, exchange, purchase or rental of real estate;
- Participation in the search for prospects, negotiation or conclusion of transactions resulting in the sale, exchange, purchase or rental of real estate;
- The search for sellers, buyers, lessors, lessees, owners or tenants of real estate;
- Advertising or acting as a professional legally qualified to negotiate the sale, exchange, purchase or rental of real estate;
- Receipt in person, through its employee or one of its agents, of the payment made in a real estate transaction;
- Do property management, as a consultant or as an agent.
The following are not considered to be real estate agents:
- Owner or co-owner conducting a real estate transaction;
- A person carries out a real estate transaction free of charge by means of a power of attorney;
- An administrator, liquidator, receiver, auctioneer or trustee who, in the performance of his or her duties, carries out a real estate transaction.
The creation of the Real Estate Agent Authority is an additional guarantee for local and foreign investors of the quality of the environment surrounding real estate transactions in Mauritius. By setting up such a regulatory authority, it goes without saying that the country will sustain its position as a destination of choice for investment in this sector.