By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) is pushing to "tighten up" the Real Estate Act, its president acknowledging that one of the proposed changes would address the "illegal" practice of non-Bahamians selling local real estate.
Christine Wallace-Whitfield told Tribune Business: "We want to get our Real Estate Act done and before Parliament in 2018. It's time to cross all the 't's' and dot all of the 'i's'. We have been in conversations with the Attorney General on that. There are things in there we are really trying to tighten up. The Act hasn't been touched in 17 years."
The Real Estate (Brokers and Salesmen) Act 1995 was last amended in 2000, and ensuring ethical standards within the profession and tackling the sale of real estate by non-Bahamians re among the issues BREA is seeking to have addressed.
"We have to make sure persons looking to practice real estate do not act in an unethical manner," said Mrs Wallace-Whitfield. "We also have to protect Bahamians in the industry. There are persons sending us e-mails saying that they see someone in the country practicing real estate illegally.
"Real estate is reserved for Bahamians with the right to work. It just really irks me when I hear someone is here selling real estate, bringing their people here and not going through a licensed real estate firm in the country."
BREA currently has 724 members, and Mrs Wallace-Whitfield added: "We are trying to work with the Florida Chapter. We Just started conversations with them to tighten that up. If one of their agents come down without contacting a Bahamian-licensed realtor, we can report them to Florida.
"There are a lot of people slipping through the cracks. The Attorney General has our back, and has encouraged us to report such matters to the Immigration Department. It's a very frustrating issue."