13 real estate agents fined in Fair Trading compliance operation

NSW Fair Trading inspectors have uncovered 102 breaches of the law governing the sale and management of property, during a compliance operation in Sydney’s West.

A/NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Peter Dunphy said inspectors targeted compliance with licensing, completion of continuing professional development, trust account requirements, supervision, underquoting and signage.

“Our inspectors canvassed 31 real estate agencies across South West and Western Sydney and issued over 30 penalties totalling almost $40,000,” Mr Dunphy said.

Agents were fined under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 and Property, Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2014.

“Inspectors predominantly uncovered non-compliance with the Rules of Conduct, supervision, licensing and record keeping requirements as well as underquoting,” Mr Dunphy said.

Underquoting occurs when a real estate agent either verbally advises or advertises a property for a price that is less than the estimated selling price in the agency agreement they have with the seller. It is not considered underquoting when a property sells for a price more than what an agent estimated in the selling agency agreement.

When quoting, agents responsibilities include:

  • Including their reasonable estimate of a property’s likely selling price in the agency agreement and providing evidence to the seller of how the estimate was determined;
  • Ensuring the highest price in a price range does not exceed the lower price by more than 10%;
  • Not using any statements such as “offers over” or “offers above” or “plus”.

“Fair Trading has conducted 12 compliance operations of real estate agents this year and issued almost $400,000 in fines. Inspectors are also focussed on supporting education and accountability in the industry, issuing warning letters for minor breaches and providing   education and advice to local businesses,” Mr Dunphy said.

Fair Trading provides a free complaint service for tenants, residents, landlords and agents with real estate and property related matters or disputes. For more information visit  www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au and search for ‘Residential Tenancy Complaints’.

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