Online Legal Complaint
Lodge a complaint against a Property Practitioner
How to lodge a legal complaint against a Property Practitioner
The Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority has made further enhancements to its website to improve service and efficiencies. This includes the establishment of an online process for lodging complaints of improper conduct against offending property practitioners. This innovation will not only greatly assist both consumers and property practitioners in using a more streamlined process for this purpose but also enable the PPRA better to fulfil its primary mandate of protecting members of the public in their dealings with property practitioners and increasing consumer awareness while still having regard to the interests of the property practitioner sector.
A guideline for using the online complaints lodgement process is provided below. Once the online complaint has been duly submitted, the complainant will immediately receive an e-mail acknowledging receipt thereof.
The online complaint form comprises three components, namely:
- Stage 1: General guidelines for initiating the on-line complaint.
- Stage 2: The electronic completion of the online complaint form.
- Stage 3: Submitting the complaint form.
STAGE 1 - General Guidelines
- Submit the online complaint once only. This will avoid any duplication which could delay the investigation of the complaint.
- The PPRA’s Investigation Mediation and Adjudications department will contact the complainant within 14 work days from the date when the complaint was lodged and provide the complainant with both a complaint reference number and a notification on progress made. If the complainant has not heard from the PPRA within that period the call centre should be telephonically contacted on 087 285 3222 to establish progress.
- The proper investigation of complaints is a time-consuming process that can frequently take as long as 8 weeks, or more, to make significant progress. Complainants are kindly requested to refrain from contacting the PPRA until at least 8 weeks have elapsed from the date of the PPRA’s last communication.
- The PPRA does not have any jurisdiction over the actions of property practitioners performed in their private capacity. The PPRA deals with disputes between a property practitioner and a consumer and over inter property practitioner’s disputes.
The PPRA is not a civil court and may not usurp the powers of one.
- Should the complaint, after investigation, be referred to an adjudicator for a hearing the complainant must be present to adduce evidence against the respondent Property Practitioner.
Should any correspondence sent by the PPRA to the address provided by the complainant be returned by the postal authorities the case file will be summarily closed.
- Any further documentation that might be requested by the PPRA in respect of a particular complaint must be addressed to the person requesting that documentation at the number/address provided.
- Should the complaint be deemed to found a possible claim against the property practitioners Fidelity Fund the complainant will be contacted by the PPRA’s Claims Department. That Department may well request additional information.
- A claim against the Property Practitioner Fidelity Fund can only be considered after the finalization, or suspension, of the initial complaint.
- The PPRA can only entertain claims against property practitioner who was registered and /had a valid fidelity fund certificate.
Please take note of the following:
This complaint initiates an investigation that could lead to the institution of disciplinary proceedings against the respondent Property Practitioner. The PPRA does not have the authority to, inter alia:
- order the estate agent to reimburse, or pay damages to, the complainant; or
- cancel, interpret or enforce a contract; or
- prevent an eviction; or
- order any party to do, or to refrain from carrying out, any action; or
- stop or intervene in any civil proceedings instituted against the complainant; or
- resolve labour disputes.
Should the complaint be in respect of one of the above categories, complainants are urged to seek independent legal advice.
The completion of the online complaint will initiate an investigation by the PPRA into the alleged improper conduct of a Property Practitioner acting in such capacity. In terms of the Property Practitioners Act, a Property Practitioner found guilty of improper conduct by an adjudicator may according to section 30 (7() be sentenced to:
- a fine which may not exceed the amount determined by the Minister of Justice for the purposes of section 29(1)(a) of the Magistrates’ Courts Act, 1944 (Act No. 32 of 1944);
- any other appropriate order under the circumstances.
STAGE 2 - Particulars of Complainant
Please Note: Fields marked * are mandatory and must be completed to initiate a complaint.
Complainants are obliged to inform the PPRA of any change of particulars after lodging a complaint.
Nature of Complaint
Complainants must provide a description of the conduct of the Property Practitioner that has aggrieved them.
It is important to note that, in pursuance of the audi alteram partem (or ‘let the other side be heard’) principle, no person may be judged without having first been given the opportunity of responding either to any allegations that have been made against them or to any evidence that may be adduced.
A copy of the founding complaint form will, accordingly, be sent by the PPRA to the respondent estate property practitioner for comment.
Complainants are, thus, strongly cautioned to be as objective as possible when making the complaint and not under any circumstances to make any disparaging or defamatory remarks that could result in the respondent property practitioner initiating civil action against the complainant.
The following documents must be attached to the complaint form to support the complaint, namely:
If the complaint relates to the purchase or sale of immovable property:
- The sale agreement and /or offer to purchase.
- The mandate granted to the estate agent, if in writing.
If the complaint relates to the leasing of immovable property:
- The lease agreement.
- Proof of monies paid as rent and/or deposit.
- If the complaint relates to a commission dispute / dispute between property practitioners:
- Any relevant document.
- Proof of payment for mediation fee.