PETALING JAYA: If you feel tempted by the many "Property wanted/sale or rent" pamphlets, think again before you engage the so-called real estate negotiators as they could be unlicensed. With the prices of new launches going sky high, the value of sub-sales or second-hand properties has gone up in tandem. This explains the many pamphlets being dropped into letter boxes in residential areas by real estate negotiators, licensed or otherwise. In an interview with Nanyang Siang Pau published today, Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) vice-president Lim Boon Ping reminded property owners that the action of unlicensed agents claiming they have potential buyers and tenants and are able to sell or rent out your property in the shortest time, smacks of fraud. It not only goes against government guidelines, but is also likely to push up property prices or rents, he said. "In fact, it is illegal to use the services of illegal real estate negotiators," he said. Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents of Malaysia (BOVAEA) president Datuk Abdul Hamid Abu Bakar had pointed out some time ago that only licensed agents and negotiators can carry out property transactions. Under the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981, an unlicensed agent or negotiator can be fined up to RM300,000 or jailed up to three years or both. Lim said MIEA cannot act against unlicensed agents should any problems crop up over transactions handled by such agents. He said the real intention of "property wanted" pamphlets is to fish for sellers, but these so-called real estate negotiators do not have ready buyers as claimed. He pointed out that under the Act, real estate agencies or negotiators must first be appointed by property owners to sell or rent out their properties before they can look for buyers or tenants. Lim estimated that there are more than 45,000 illegal real estate negotiators – three times more than licensed ones.