The Public Prosecution in Oman has issued a strong warning to real estate brokers practicing for a fee without a license from the competent authority. It said the illegal activity is a crime punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of RO3,000. It added that this is a criminal act in accordance with Article 19 of the law regulating the brokering real estate areas, addressing both the citizens and residents.
Muscat-based real estate companies were given time till May-end this year to get themselves registered, failing which their transactions were not to be validated by the Ministry of Housing. Businesses engaged in real estate brokerage services were also required to validate their legal status, failing which their transactions will not be endorsed
Last year, the Housing Ministry made it mandatory for real estate brokerage firms to secure permits against a registration fee in order to provide realtor services in the Sultanate. Two sets of fees were prescribed — one for companies based in Muscat, and the other 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 within Muscat Governorate, and RO 300 outside of the capital governorate. Fees for permit renewals are RO 200 per year in Muscat and RO 100 per year 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 the real estate business. It also 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 licenced by the Directorate-General of Real Estate Development.