As the end of the year is approaches, cities and suburban areas are often experience an influx of non-registered agents offering deals that are too good to be true on managing clients rental properties. The trouble is that these clients will have little to no legal recourse against these agents if they turn out to be con artists. Sometimes it is not always obvious to know that the agent is not registered, as some cleaning & garden service owners offer this service to their clients. The trouble with using anyone who is not registered with the EAAB is that you will not be protected against fraudulent behaviour. As the regulatory body that governs the industry, the EAAB issues qualified property practitioners a Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC). The money earned from the issuing of FFCs goes towards paying consumers damages for dishonest real estate agents who have stolen money from their clients. According to the EAAB, one of the purposes of the fund is: “To reimburse persons who have suffered financial loss as a result of a theft of trust monies due to dealing with an estate agent”. Dealing with an estate agent who isn’t registered with the EAAB not only puts owners at risk of fraudulent behaviour, but it also means that they could be working through somebody who may not be up to date with all the requirements in handling property transactions. Part of being registered and having a valid licence with the EAAB means that the agent is earning enough CPD (continuing professional development) points and has passed the PDE (professional designation examination). This protects consumers against dealing with somebody who claims to have knowledge of the industry but doesn’t. At the end of 2017, then EAAB spokeswoman announced that possibly around 50,000 estate agents were operating in the country without a valid FFC. This means that there are plenty of non-registered agents out there and that consumers should never just assume that their agent is registered.