New real estate reforms to better protect consumers
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean today announced legislation to strengthen standards in the state’s $15 billion-a-year real estate industry and better protect consumers in the property market.
It’s the first major review of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act since it became law in 2002.
Mr Kean said the proposed amendments would bolster training standards as well increasing transparency and accountability to put consumers first.
“Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest investments most of us will make in our lifetime – consumers have every right to expect that agents are doing the right thing,” he said.
“We want to make sure that those who work in the industry are properly qualified, and better protections are in place to crack down on any dodgy operators.
“Real estate agents rely on reputation and it’s vitally important consumers are able to trust them to behave professionally and ethically.
“This bill came about after close consultation with key stakeholders and I’m delighted it has broad industry support.”
Key reforms include:
- Strengthening training standards in the property services industry, including for real estate agents;
- Creating a new licensee-in-charge who will supervise agents, oversee trust accounts, and ensure compliance. Applicants will need more practical experience and additional qualifications;
- Banning gifts or benefits that could cause conflicts of interest;
- Greater transparency around fees, charges and commissions received by agents;
- Introducing separate trust accounts for rent and sales money;
- Requiring all trust account audits to be submitted to NSW Fair Trading;
- New fraud prevention measures that will require agents to transfer rental income out of trust accounts at the end of each month; and,
- Giving NSW Fair Trading greater powers to tackle rogue agents.