Industry body to tackle underquoting

One peak real estate body is embarking on a comprehensive consultation process with members in a bid to address underquoting.

REIV chief executive Enzo Raimondo said the Institute will gain valuable input from members on a suitable outcome which will drive industry-wide change and best serve the interests of consumers.

Industry input will be received via a member-wide, online survey and through forums in key regional centres in the next fortnight.

“We are committed to ensuring this issue, which is clearly impacting on members of the public, is addressed in a timely and effective manner,” Mr Raimondo said.

He said poor price quoting is a symptom of a broader, more important issue – the educational qualifications required to practice as an agent in Victoria.

“We currently have a situation in this state where a Certificate III is all that is required to sell or manage real estate,” he said.

“This is the same level as that required to work in hospitality – as a waiter or barista.”

Mr Raimondo noted that there are also some registered training organisations (RTOs) which are offering a full licensed course (Certificate IV) in just five days.

“These fast-tracked courses are clearly impacting on the industry, and creating poorly-trained, inadequately qualified real estate agents,” he said.

“The agents receiving this training are a significant threat to consumers.”

Mr Raimondo said the Institute would continue to press for the introduction of higher educational qualifications.

REIV’s decision to embark on a consultation process with its members comes after Consumer Affairs Victoria commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against Hockingstuart Richmond, alleging contraventions of section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law (which prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct in trade) and section 30 of the Australian Consumer Law (which prohibits, in respect of the possible sale of land, false and misleading representations as to the price payable).

"The proceedings relate to the marketing of 11 properties in the Richmond area and Kew," the consumer watchdog said. "As the matter is before the courts, Consumer Affairs Victoria will not be making any further comment,” a spokesperson told REB.

Consumer Affairs Victoria currently has eight investigations into underquoting under way and has reviewed 880 sales for underquoting.

[Related: Melbourne agency to face Federal Court]

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