Israel Weighing Plan to Scrap Realty Licensing

Move aims to cut regulation but many in industry oppose it

For sale signs on apartments in Harish, May 13, 2019.

The Justice Ministry is considering lifting licensing requirements for real estate agents, arguing that they are not strictly enforced, that they constitute needless regulation and have created a test-preparation industry.

Some figures in the industry say that without licensing, the number of inexperienced and unqualified brokers will increase, harming the reputation of qualified agents and of home buyers and sellers.

“Before the [licensing] law was passed, 23 years ago, the market was a jungle and there were constant lawsuits,” said Ronen Shitrit, who owns the Anglo-Saxon real estate agency. “The brokerage law was supposed to introduce order and after it was passed the number of lawsuits fell sharply But I don’t think it’s done enough, it needs to be made tougher.”

Under the proposal by the Justice Ministry’s Planning, Policy and Strategy unit, the sections of the law that set ethical standards will remain in force. Their enforcement will be reassigned to the Consumer Protection Authority of the Economy and Industry Ministry.

The idea, said Galia Sagi Rotstein, the head of the Justice Ministry unit, is to “create a more holistic, complete and comprehensive solution by an expert in consumer protection. The authority will take all complaints and inquiries on the issue of real estate brokerage and formulate documents, for instance of exclusive sales rights for a property.”