The names of licensed real estate brokerage offices will be announced soon which will help customers conduct business with confidence, said Siham al Harthy, Director-General of Real Estate Development, Ministry of Housing.
She was responding to a warning issued last week by Public Prosecution against real estate brokers practising without a licence from the competent authority.
The authority said the illegal activity is a “crime punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of RO 3,000”. It said this is a criminal act as per law.
Muscat-based real estate companies were given time till May-end to get themselves registered, failing which the Ministry of Housing wouldn’t validate their transactions.
Businesses engaged in real estate brokerage services had to validate their legal status, failing which their transactions would not be endorsed.
Last year, the ministry made it mandatory for real estate brokerage companies to secure permits for a fee in order to provide realtor services in the Sultanate.
Two sets of fees were prescribed, one for companies based in Muscat and another for those operating outside of the capital governorate.
In a decision issued by the Minister of Housing, brokers are liable to pay fees for new and renewed permits to serve as real estate brokers. The fee is set at RO 500 for those operating in Muscat Governorate and RO 300 outside of the capital.
Fees for permit renewals are RO 200 per year in Muscat and RO 100 in other governorates.
Replacements in lieu of lost permits will cost RO 100 in Muscat and RO 50 outside the capital. The new regulations are designed to keep a check on “freelance” brokers and improve accountability and transparency in real estate business. It aims to boost professionalism in the industry and eliminate the potential for speculative dealing, price manipulation and dubious practices. Initially, the new regulations will be rolled out in Muscat Governorate, according to the ministry.
The system will allow real estate brokers and developers to provide professional real estate services once licensed by the Directorate-General of Real Estate Development.