The Valencian Region has just created a Register of Real Estate Agents, whereby all real estate agencies operating in this area are obliged to be registered. The aim is to promote transparency in the property sector, to guarantee the protection of owners and tenants and, furthermore, to ensure professionalism to the real estate business.
What is the Register of Real Estate Agents?
This Register of Real Estate Agents depends on the Regional Ministry of Properties of the Valencian Region (Conserjería de Vivienda de la Comunidad Valenciana). It is a publicly owned, administrative register, free of charge and compulsory.
Which agencies or agents are obliged to be registered?
Registration is compulsory for all natural or legal persons who exercise, or wish to exercise, the activity of real estate brokerage within the territory of this Region “on a regular basis”.
Agents who do not have an establishment open to the public in the Valencian Region, but have one in another territorial area, whether in another region or another country, are not obliged to be registered, but must prove their registration in that other territory. If this is not possible, they are obliged to notify the Valencian authorities of their activity. In any case, those operations in which the agent intervenes in the territory of the Valencian Region must be reported, provided that there are more than two operations per year.
What requirements must agencies meet in order to proceed with the register?
There are three types of requirements to be met:
- Location and service requirements: The agent must have an establishment open to the public, where enquiries, complaints and possible claims from customers can be dealt with. If the agent only provides services electronically, it must have at least one physical address in the territory of the Valencian Region for the above-mentioned purposes.
- Professional qualification requirements: The estate agent must have professional qualifications, which the Decree specifies in the form of an official title of estate agent, or a university degree in Spain in law, economics, architecture, engineering, or other similar professions, or a certificate of attendance and successful completion of academic training courses of at least 200 hours in real estate matters.
- Solvency requirements: the agent must have a guarantee issued by a bank or surety insurance to guarantee the amounts received from customers. The minimum amount shall be 60,000 euros if the agent operates in an establishment open to the public, and 300,000 euros if the agent works remotely.
In addition, it must have a professional civil liability insurance policy valid for the whole of the European Union that covers the liabilities that may arise due to professional negligence. The minimum amount of insurance will be 600,000 euros per claim and 150,000 euros per victim when the agent has an open establishment, and one million euros if the agent operates by remote means.
How and when does the agent has to be registered?
Registration can be done individually or through the Official Association of Estate Agents (Colegio Oficial de Agentes inmobiliarios). If it is done individually, it will be done by means of an application by the interested party through a Responsible Declaration submitted by remote means. Once the application has been submitted, registration is automatic and the agency will receive an accreditation document and a standardised badge so that the registration is visible to the public.
The deadline for submission by all agencies operating in the Valencian Region is 16th October 2023, one year after the entry into force of the Decree.
Will there be penalties for non-compliance?
The answer is yes, and non-compliance may be sanctioned by the competent public administration. In addition, it may establish guidelines, control that the conditions of the application are met and maintained, inform and give public access to the data in the register, and also issue certifications.