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Real Estate Agents Bill passed

The Real Estate Agents Bill was passed by Parliament today, which will bring about renewed accountability and transparency to the real estate industry, and renewed protection for buyers and sellers.

Friday, September 5th 2008, 4:15PM

by The Landlord

The bill overhauls the Real Estate Agents Act 1976 and ends self-regulation by the industry.

The current in-house complaints and discipline system will be replaced by an independent Real Estate Agents Authority which promises to deal with complaints quickly and effectively.

“The new easily accessible independent complaints and discipline process will, for the first time, allow for effective consumer redress, including compensation for up to $100,000. Industry members can also new have confidence that if they are the subject of a complaint, the process will be fair and transparent,” Associate Justice Minister Clayton Cosgrove says.

Cosgrove said another important consumer protection measure relates to sole agency agreements which now include a cooling-off period so consumers are not pressured into signing up, and a cancellation period after 90 days will be put in place should either party want to opt out of the contract.

The bill also demands improved customer information, and compulsory education requirements for real estate agents and salespeople.

The key provisions of the act are to:

  • Put an end to self regulation by removing regulatory functions from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ)
  • Create an independent Real Estate Agents Authority to oversee licensing, complaints, disciplinary and enforcement processes and provide information for consumers
  • Create an independent disciplinary tribunal to deal with serious cases, which will have the ability to order the cancellation of licenses and award up to $100,000 in compensation
  • Establish a public register of real estate agents and salespeople that records any breaches of the industry standards against the names of those involved
  • Require licensees to undergo ongoing professional development training
  • Improve the conduct required  in the running of a real estate agency business, including mandatory disclosure requirements, and requirements to provide independently approved information to buyers and sellers.

The act will come into effect November 2009.

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