Measures to curb real estate scams in the Philippines have been finalized by the government and Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines (REBAP). The latter will use their industry knowledge to monitor and report illicit transactions and fake agents moving forward.
The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) first announced plans to end unlawful activity across the property market in late 2020. A few months later, a technical working group led by DHSUD Undersecretary Meynardo Sabili was launched to engage stakeholders and create a whole-government approach that would be effective in combating unregistered agents and illegal developers.
Some measures put forth by the working group have now been approved with DHSUD Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario signing a memorandum of agreement with REBAP to establish a formal monitoring and reporting system within the property sector.
REBAP is being tasked with identifying illegal practices and submitting evidence to the working group. The association will keep an eye out for all types of real estate scams, including sales and unlicensed, unaccredited or unregistered individuals operating within the industry.
Once illegal activity has been reported by REBAP, DHSUD will then handle the coordination of legal proceedings and apprehension through authorized agencies if applicable.
“I would like to thank REBAP for their support to our campaign to go after illegal real estate groups who are victimizing our homebuyers, with your help, we can further strengthen our force to go after them and ensure that less and less homebuyers fall prey to their schemes,” Sec. Eduardo del Rosario said in a statement to the Philippine News Agency. “We will continue to work with relevant stakeholders in the human settlements and urban development sector to finally put an end to this crime.”
Real estate scams trouble property sector
The push to clean up the property sector came after a fresh wave of unregistered developers and real estate brokers were found to be illegally selling properties in the country. These scammers had used social media to promote homes to unsuspecting buyers.
In some cases, these unscrupulous characters pose as a property professional and promise buyers units in existing projects at below market value prices before disappearing once payment has been made. Other times, they will simply look to facilitate a deal by acting as a middle man without informing either side. Both examples go against regulations issued by the Housing and Land use Regulatory Board.