The real estate agents' right access : pay or not ?

" Oliver and I have just married and we are looking for our first home. We want a three room apartment in Cocody-Angre district.  We thus get in touch with Mr. K., the real estate agent with whom we agreed to visit a rental apartment.

During our visit, everything is reviewed : living room, bedrooms, bathroom, balcony and there is even a laundry room. The only concern is that, despite of all these qualities, we did not really have a  << the blow of heart >>, what we try to make understand to Mr. K.

 But in our most great surprise, the latter demands us the payment of a right of access !  In good inhabitants of Ivory Coast, we say ourselves  : << To visit still, it is paying ?! >> ".

Like us, many real estate clients have probably had to ask themselves the same questions. What is right of access? Is the customer obliged to pay?

Right of access : what is it ?

The right of access, in the first sense of the term, is the right of a purchaser or tenant to visit the dwelling (villa, apartment...), thereby enabling him to appreciate his qualities in order to consent or avoid in full knowledge of the facts, sale or lease.

The right of access is not governed by the ivorian law of 23 may 1975 on business agents, nor by the decree of 2 october 1979 regulating the profession of real estate agent. It follows therefore from the uses which take place in the field of real estate transactions.

 

But what most clients are probably unaware of for lake of information is that access is also the amount that the client agrees to pay, when signing the visiting order given to him by the real estate agent at the end of the visit.

Many of us wonder : << What's that again ? >> (Laughter).

 

In fact, the visit voucher refers to nothing other than the document by which you acknowledge that you have visited the house or apartment put up for sale through our real estate agent.

What is even more interesting to know is that legally this "small" document protect us both our clients and our real estate agent.

The amount paid for access, which varies between 2,000 and 5,000 CFA (3,25 and 8,12 dollards) covers a certain number of visits  (2 to 3 visits maximum).

The voucher is thus the proof of our payment, so that the agent will no longer be able to claim us to pay anything on the next visits, until the number of visits covered by the voucher is completely exhausted.

In return, the agent in turn, has evidence that enables him to justify his activity with the owner-seller who has mandated him. Shit not ?

When an owner has decided to entrust the management of his house to a single agence only (we say that the owner has given an exclusive mandate to this agency), we customers interested in the house must obey the terms of our committment to the agency : if therefore our  engagement includes the payment of access to the agent, we must faithfully discharge this obligation.

Let us know, the payment of access does not depend on the outcome of the visit ! 

It is not because we have not found the property that corresponds to our expectations that we must refuse to pay the right of access.

The right access thus appears as a sort of compensation for the real estate agent's efforts in the field to search for rental or sale property, to cover the costs of calling for the visit of the property but also for the  (if this is not suitable for the client).

Some real estate agents or direct sellers charge fees for houses, shops or land that are not yet available for rental and sale. 

In this case, what precautions should be taken to avoid getting caught ?

Precautions to be taken

  1. Ensure the credibility of the real estate agent or the direct seller (with the internet and especially facebook, it becomes easier).
  2. Sign a visit voucher or any document stating that you actually paid the visitation fee and clearly specifying the number of valid visits to this voucher.
  3. If you have the opportunity, pay after visiting.

Conversely, other corrupt clients refuse to pay all or part of the righ of access fee even though the property they visted corresponds to their expectations. In this case, the visiting form can serve as a means of proof for the real estate agent to recover his right of access provided that he specifies :

  • the amount corresponding to the right of access
  • the number of visits valid for this voucher
  • the property(ies) visited, their location and characteristics
  • the name and contact information of the client
  • and finally, include the signature of the client which can be followed by the words  "read and approved") and the signature of the real estate agent (followed by the stamp imprint).

The right of access is therefore not a scam. If it is due, it must be paid.

If you liked this article, do not hesitate to comment or share it. Who knows ? May be that one of your loved ones needs to be enlightened on this subject.

Do you have any doubts or opinions about the visiting rights of real estate agents ? We should love to discuss it with you and /or help you.

Oriane Akpo

AUTHOR

 

Holder of a master's degree in fundamental private law and passionate about real estate law, leadership and sharing of experiences.