To become a principal property practitioner in South Africa and own your real estate firm, you must comply with the controlling regulatory authority, The Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority. The PPRA was previously known as The Estate Agents Affairs Board, the EAAB. The Property Practitioners Act No 22 of 2019 was promulgated in February 2022. Agents/Practitioners are also governed by The Property Practitioners Code of Conduct. Well, what does this all mean? Let’s summarise “how to become a property practitioner” for you.
From Intern or Candidate Property Practitioner:
Terminology recently changed the naming of an intern agent to a candidate property practitioner.
The candidate practitioner enters the property industry in South Africa as an employee of an estate agency firm. They register with the PPRA and receive a Fidelity Fund Certificate. No practitioner may trade as an estate agent or practice under an estate agency firm without an FFC.
Whilst trading under the candidate status, they require the assistance of a principal or non-principal practitioner in completing any documentation with a client. Once the candidate has received an FFC, they have a stipulated period within which to become qualified as Full Status, failing which their FFC is withdrawn, and they may no longer trade. As of November 2022, this period is stipulated at two years. During that period, they must complete their intern logbook, NQF4 qualification and PDE4 exam. They will then achieve full status.
From Full Status or Non-Principal Property Practitioner:
A non-principal property practitioner must achieve principal status to open and manage an estate agency firm in South Africa. How is this achieved? There are typical scenarios which are broken down:
- “I have only achieved full status – what are my next steps?”
You will have to complete the full qualification known as NQF5 Real Estate. The full name of the qualification is National Certificate: Real Estate: 20188: NQF Level 5. This is a five-month course and will take at least an additional three months for SSETA certification.
Once you achieve your NQF5 certification, you will receive a Principal FFC and have two years to pass your PDE5 exam, failing which your FFC will be rescinded.
- “I am a full status/non-principal practitioner and have managed an estate agency firm under a principal practitioner – what are my next steps.”
This is a shorter process as you can complete your NQF5 through Recognition of Prior Learning, RPL. The course will take up to three months and is a compilation of your work experience. To qualify for RPL, you will be assessed by PropAcademy and must prove that you have managed an agency and can manage a trust account.
Exemptions apply to all facets of legislated education
- Intern Logbook: A candidate may be exempt if he had traded as a practitioner for five years before 2013.
- PDE4 & PDE5: If you were a practitioner for five consecutive years before 2008, you would be exempt from the exam level stipulated on the FFC you held at that time.
- NQF4 & NQF5: Always check the PPRA website to see what diplomas, degrees, and NQF credits may exempt you from completing these qualifications.
How can I open my agency before obtaining my required principal status is a common question?
This can only be overcome if you employ a Principal Practitioner to manage the firm while obtaining your qualifications.
You will also have to open your entity to manage your agency. Your accountant or auditor will probably complete this process, investigate the PPRA’s requirements, open the firm with CIPC and adhere to the normal SARS protocols.