PUTRAJAYA: All real estate negotiators will be required to use identification tags effective May 1. Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents president Datuk Abdul Hamid Abu Bakar said this is to make it easier for the public to identify illegal real estate negotiators. "The tag identification system allows the public to detect a fake real estate negotiator. Scan the QR (Quick Response) code on the identification tag with any device, even with a smartphone, and you will receive all details about the real estate negotiator. It is illegal to solicit the sale and purchase of a real estate without a licence. If a real estate negotiator does not wear his tag, the public can report them to the board," he said at a briefing here today. Abdul Hamid, who is also director-general of valuation at the Valuation and Property Services Department, said the board held a registration exercise for negotiators in October last year until Feb 28 this year. To date, the board has registered some 16,243 negotiators. He said the board continues to receive complaints of mishandling, misrepresentation of properties being sold, failure to return deposits and delays in providing services by illegal real estate agents and negotiators from the public. Board member Eric Lim said deposits paid are normally held by real estate agencies with insurance. "If there is a problem, the public can claim insurance but with illegals, the cash could be forfeited or go missing," he said. Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents president Siva Shanker estimates there are 30,000 to 40,000 illegal real estate agents and negotiators nationwide against an estimated 20,000 licensed agents and negotiators. He said under Section 30 of the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981, anyone who commits an offence is liable for conviction to a fine of up to RM300,000 or imprisonment up to three years or both.