Kenya’s rental agency profession is full of conmen masquerading as genuine realtors. The most common methods the fraudsters use are selling non-existent property, using forged documents, abandoning transactions halfway and selling the same property to different clients.
Others like Francis Bartonjo owner of Barles Properties based in Kiserian/Rongai present themselves as professionals with apparently appropriate documentation like Company Certificate of Incorporation, KRA Pin Certificate for his company and a landlord assumes they are genuine.
A landlord signs an official contract clearly indicating that all rental money by tenants are to be remitted directly to the landlord’s bank account yet Francis convinces tenants to give him the rental money in clear violation of rental agency contract. Once the landlord discovers this, he tries to reach him on phone but Francis refuses to pick phone calls and even after landlord eventually contacts the agent to desist from illegally taking money from tenants, Francis continues with the vice.
Eventually, such an agent refuses to refund the full amount of money illegally taken and dictates terms of how much he shall return to landlord assuming he can operate with such impunity and thinks nothing can be done to him.
Kenyans should note that the only genuine rental agents are officially registered with the Estate Agents Registration Board government agency as shown on link https://www.estateagentsboard.or.ke/uncategorized/public-notice-unregistered-agents/?v=be7f575c3bc9 which states
It has been brought to our attention that some members of the public, public and private organisations are procuring real estate services from unregistered persons. This is to bring to the attention of such person or institutions that it is illegal to engage or procure the services of unregistered persons as it is punishable by law. In addition, such persons are unregulated and not answerable to any legal body.
In addition, the Board wishes to warn that those carrying out such services without the certification and licensing by the Board will be apprehended and punished in accordance with the law.
Also from the same website, it states
All consumers of the services by Estate Agents are hereby notified that the Estate Agents Act Cap 533 Laws of Kenya makes it mandatory for all Estate Agents – that is “persons who by way of business negotiate for or otherwise act in relation to the selling, purchasing or letting of land and buildings erected thereon” to be registered with the Estate Agents Registration Board. In this regards, all Estate Agents registered by the Board are issued with a Registration Certificate and are required to take out a Practicing Certificate in every year of practice. Please ensure that any Estate Agent you deal with provides you with the registration certificate as well as the annual practising certificate issued by the Board before you engage them. In order for the Board to continue protecting the interest of the public and enhance professionalism in the real estate sector, consumers are encouraged to request the Estate Agents to produce a letter of good standing from the Board in addition to the certificates mentioned above. Please report any person purporting to act as an Estate Agent without registration and a valid Practicing Certificate to the Board through our email firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of registered Estate Agents in Kenya can be accessed from our website www.estateagentsboard.or.ke.
Thus landlords and renters should ensure that their agents are registered with Estate Agents Registration Board to avoid being conned.
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