The motion for the second reading for Real Estate Authority Bill, 2020, was moved on Monday, in Parliament by Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing.

It is to be followed by consideration to establish legislation to sanitise the real estate industry and ensure that standards are met.

When passed into an act, the Real Estate Authority Bill 2020 will regulate real estate agency practice, the conduct of real estate practitioners, commercial transactions in real estate including the sale, purchase, rental, and leasing of real estate, as well as other real estate transactions.

It will also establish the Real Estate Agency Council to license real estate brokers, issue real estate transfer certificates, and monitor the performance of the brokers.

A memorandum of the bill underscored the need to regulate real estate agency services to rid the industry of fraud, laundering of illegal income, and tax evasion to minimise the effect of these vices on the national economy and the international image of the country.

The law would require a real estate broker to submit within three months after the end of each calendar year to the Council a report covering the real estate transactions undertaken by the real estate broker and the agents of that broker in the previous year.

A person who fails to submit annual reports to the Council or fails to conspicuously display the license issued per the law would be liable to pay to the Council an administrative penalty of 1,000 penalty units.

Contributions from both sides stressed the need for such legislation to make it criminal for property owners to take deposits for properties that are not ready and conduit for money laundering.

When he moved for the second reading, the Minister urged the House to deplore its energies to have the bill passed.

Mr Governs Kwame Agbodza, MP for Adaklu, was hopeful that the Real Estate Authority Bill, would cover the entire country rather than being applied to urban areas.

“I hope this law will not become only Accra and Kumasi law,” Mr Agbodza said.

The proposed legislation was first introduced in 2014, when the then Government presented the Real Estate Regulatory Bill to regulate the industry, but the law did not see the light of day at the time.

The current bill is, however, expected to be passed before the House rises by the end of this week, to ensure he needed sanity in the estate agency sector of the economy.

Second reading is the first opportunity for MPs to debate the main principles of the Bill. It usually takes place no sooner than two weekends after the first reading.

The minister, spokesperson, or MP responsible for the Bill opens the second reading debate. The official Opposition spokesperson responds with their views on the Bill.

The debate continues with other Opposition parties and backbench MPs giving their opinions.

At the end of the debate, the Commons decides whether the Bill should be given its second reading by voting, meaning it can proceed to the next stage.

A Bill can have a second reading with no debate – as long as MPs agree to its progress.

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