Minister for Lands and Housing Henry Phoya says unscrupulous estate agents who put out adverts in newspapers for houses either for sale or rent will be arrested because laws governing the sector will now be fully enforced by government.
Of late, some agents have been advertising houses for rent or sale and yet the houses do not belong to them.
In some instances, three tenants have found themselves paying for one house and some property owners have had their properties sold without their consent.
Phoya conceded in an interview in Mangochi last weekend that the malpractice is growing and that government will start biting hard so that the perpetrators face the law and if found on the wrong side of the law, they are imprisoned.
“Contrary to what people think that there are no laws that govern estate agents, the requisite tools and laws are there and as government, we cannot just sit idle to see people losing their property because of some unscrupulous agents.
“This practice is very bad because some widows have complained to us that their houses were put up for sale without their consent. Other tenants looking for houses have ended up paying for one house and in the end, they have been heavily affected. Together with the Ministry of Justice, we will work hard to make sure that all loopholes are sealed and sanity is brought back,” he said.
Phoya was speaking after opening the Continuing Professional Development Conference for the Surveyors Institute of Malawi which took place at Sun ‘N’ Sand Holiday Resort in Mangochi.
He commended the surveyors for their role in the construction as well as on land issues because without their close collaboration with government there could have been more problems in the sector.
“The Surveyors Institute depends on government for policy guidance and direction and we will continue working together so that we develop the country further,” said Phoya.
Surveyors Institute of Malawi president Fred Chiweza said despite his body providing the necessary support to both government and Malawians in property valuation, land administration and management, estate management, construction and housing, it needed government’s policy direction to discharge its duties without hitches.
He also commended government for providing his organisation with office space through the surveyor general.
“The office space that you provided us has gone a long way in solving our office accommodation challenges and we do not take this lightly,” said Chiweza.
The institute has been in existence since 1975 and is among the oldest professional bodies in Malawi.