estate agent's commissionproperty law


In Signature Real Estate (Pty) Ltd v Charles Edwards Properties and others (415/2019) [2020] ZASCA 63 (10 June 2020), the Supreme Court of Appeal considered when an estate agent is entitled to claim commission.

In terms of section 34A of the Estate Agency Affairs Act 112 of 1976,

‘No estate agent shall be entitled to any remuneration or other payment [for any of the defined activities for an estate agent] … unless at the time of the performance of the act a valid fidelity fund certificate has been issued –

(a)           to such estate agent; and

(b)           if such estate agent is a company, to every director of such company, or if such estate agent is a close corporation, to every member … of such corporation.’

[Emphasis added.]

Signature Real Estate (Pty) Limited underwent a conversion from a close corporation to a company and also changed its name. In 2017, the company informed the Estate Agency Affairs Board about this and complied with the relevant requirements.

The new company applied for fidelity fund certificates in 2018. However, the Board erroneously issued certificates in the company’s prior name as a close corporation. It also issued certificates to its directors as members thereof, rather than the new company. The Board acknowledged its error, saying that this had been an oversight.


The High Court rejected an application brought by Signature Real Estate (Pty) Ltd for payment of commission where the fidelity fund certificates incorrectly reflected the name of the close corporation instead of the company.

On appeal, the SCA decided that Signature Real Estate (Pty) Ltd was indeed entitled to its commission. This was because the errors in the issuing of the certificates were attributable to the Board, not the company. However, the SCA made it clear that any errors or laxity on the part of estate agents in obtaining the correct certificates would preclude them from claiming commission.

The appeal was upheld with costs.

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