A person who is employed by a licensed real estate agent can be registered in the Registry of Assistant Real Estate Agents
An assistant real estate agent is someone employed by a licensed real estate agent and carries out real estate transactions under their instructions provided they are registered in the Registry of Assistant Real Estate Agents. The mediation for a real estate transaction is exercised by a licensed registered real estate agent and when an assistant real estate agent participates, they must be registered.
The qualifications for registration are defined in article 12 of the Real Estate Agents Law, L.71(I)/2010 and every interested party must submit an application no later than 30 days from the date of commencement of their employment, otherwise the period of practicing this position will be considered to have commenced 30 days before submitting the application for registration.
The application is submitted to the Council of Real Estate Agents with proof of possession of the qualifications required. The person concerned must be a citizen of the Republic or a member state of the European Union, not be bankrupt or legally incapacitated, have a high school diploma or equivalent and have not been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or moral indecency and if convicted to have been restored.
The council has the power to request further proof and information or documents and the applicant must comply. If they fail to within the time limit set, the council may reject the application for that reason alone.
If rejected an applicant is notified and may challenge the legality of the decision before the administrative court. Such a case was examined by the court in a judgement issued on May 10. The applicant complained that rejection of his application was invalid and illegal.
His application was accompanied by detailed emolument certificates and proof that his employer was a registered real estate agent and a company. The council dealt with the application late and requested in a letter to the declared employer that he appear before it on a specific date for an interview, providing proof of the applicant’s employment.
The council asked for monthly pay slips regarding the applicant’s salary, bank account statements showing salary deposits, payroll copies, the transactions handled by the applicant and other information. The employer did not attend the hearing and in a letter from his lawyer to the council, alleged that its demand was illegal and constituted an abuse of power. Consequently, the council sent another letter inviting the employer to provide the information and the applicant to appear before it on a specific date, but they did not comply. The council rejected the application.
The court held that the council had the power to request further supporting documents and the refusal was incomprehensible. It added that although there had been a delay in the council examining a simple application, the applicant had not acted diligently in submitting the required information since the council had reservations about his employment. The delay in the examination of the application could not lead to invalidity, since a final rejection decision was issued.
With regard to the applicant’s complaint of prejudice, the court held that a mere allegation of prejudice or subjective allegations of acute hatred, were not sufficient, taking into account the fact that the burden of proof of such a claim lies with the person alleging prejudice. The court concluded that the council’s request was justified in the context of due diligence which an administrative body ought to carry out before taking an decision. On the contrary, the refusal of the applicant and his employer was unjustified and led the council to its decision, applying the provisions of article 13(4) of the Law, giving appropriate reasoning. Consequently, the court dismissed the recourse as unfounded and reaffirmed the decision of the council.
George Coucounis is a lawyer practising in Larnaca and the founder of George Coucounis LLC, Advocates & Legal Consultants, [email protected]