EXCLUSIVE: A real estate firm that is banned from selling overseas properties in Singapore was marketing overseas properties to Thai buyers in Bangkok last week.
Although the ban only applies in the city-state, this latest incident underlines the urgent need for real estate regulation in Thailand.
Late last year Singapore’s Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) sentenced the real estate firm to a fine of S$ 66,000 (THB 1.57 million) and banned it from transacting or marketing foreign properties in Singapore until late November this year.
Last week’s event, which was hosted by a high-profile Thailand property portal, featured speakers from a Thai offshoot of the Singapore agency who were promoting overseas property sales.
On its Thailand website the agency makes many mentions of its Singapore background – with the exception of the CEA banning order.
That website itself was only registered in February 2018, after the Singapore banning order took place.
Although last week’s incident would not appear to contravene any law, the fact that Thais are being marketed to a banned agency is worrying, even if the agency itself claims its Thai entity is different to the Singapore agency.
CEA’s fine was the largest ever imposed on a property agency at the time for failing to abide by its regulations with regard to foreign property sales. It was also the second time the agency was prosecuted for failing to provide information about the risks involved when buying foreign property.
The agency was convicted of a total of six charges under Singapore’s Estate Agents Act that became law in 2010.
A total of 12 other charges were considered when sentencing took place.
Matters that saw the Singapore real estate agency banned related to U.K. property investments, where at seminars in Singapore it was found to have made false representations in advertisements.
CEA noted that throughout the property marketing process, property agents from the banned agency did not provide investors with written advisory messages about conducting their due diligence, highlight the risks involved or that transactions were subject to foreign laws.
Surely now is the time for Thailand’s real estate agencies to understand the importance of regulation?
Allowing a banned agency, in whatever business guise, to conduct business in Thailand cannot be permitted.